EBOLA AWARENESS FILM PREMIERED IN MALI
Saturday, January 31, 2015
Bamako, Mali, 31 January 2015 - A film on the measures people should take to avoid contracting the Ebola virus, locally produced and sponsored by African gold miner Randgold Resources, was premiered today at the five-star Hotel Salam in Bamako.
Among the dignitaries who attended the first screening of the film, which will also be made available in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, were Malian Minister of Health and Public Hygiene, the Honourable Mr Ousmane Koné and the Malian Minister of Mines, the Honourable Mr Boubou Cissé.
The government of Mali and the United Nations declared Mali an Ebola-free country on 18 January 2015 following a remarkably successful joint effort by the country’s health authorities and its mining industry to curb the spread of the disease.
Chaired by Randgold, the Mali Ebola Private Sector Mobilisation Group, comprising the mining companies operating in the country, provided a coordinated response in support of the government’s campaign against the deadly virus. Among other actions, medical practitioners employed by these companies met on a daily basis to provide technical input to the state’s health professionals, provide community clinics with training and equipment, develop protocols and procedures for Ebola preparedness, and assist with border post screenings.
Speaking at the premiere, Randgold chief executive Mark Bristow - who was awarded the honorary title of ‘Knight of the National Order of Mali’ (Chevalier de l’Ordre national du Mali) at the screening for his role in the development of the Malian mining industry - said that perhaps the industry’s most important contribution had been to use its international reach to persuade governments and NGOs to engage actively with the Ebola crisis rather than to isolate it. “The effectiveness of the Mali initiative has shown what can be achieved through cooperation and local capacity building,” he said.
“Working closely with our host governments to tackle the infrastructural, educational and healthcare challenges endemic to Africa is a key component of our business philosophy, so stepping up to the plate for Ebola was all in the day’s work for us,” said Bristow. “While Mali is now officially Ebola-free, it will have to remain on the alert for a recurrence. The voluntary testing and treatment procedures Randgold developed for the fight against HIV Aids virtually wiped it out at our West African operations, and can be used as the model for an effective Ebola monitoring programme.”