MANILA, Philippines – Two personnel of the Philippine Embassy in Nairobi were dispatched to Madagascar on Wednesday to get information on the conditions of Filipino workers at the Ambatovy Project in Tamatave.
The move was taken after OFWs working in the area raised concerns about contracting malaria at the site.
Unconfirmed reports alleged that 16 OFWs working at the Kentz Engineers and Constructors tested positive for malaria. There were also reports of an increasing number of OFWs going to the clinic to be tested for possible malaria.
The embassy personnel will meet with the Ambatovy and Kentz management to discuss the issues and concerns raised by the OFWs and the repatriation requests by OFWs working at Kentz.
They will also meet with Madagascar’s health officials on the reportedly increasing number of malaria cases.
The embassy has already sought the assistance of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Madagascar to confirm reports of a malaria outbreak.
However, in a report to the embassy, WHO’s Dr. Luciano Tuseo denied that there is a malaria outbreak in the area or in any other part of the country.
Dr. Tuseo said that Madagascar “is not a malaria epidemic prone area, but endemic or holoendemic area."
Kentz has assured the embassy that it will continue to undertake precautionary measures such as providing advice on personal protection methods, providing 2, 000 mosquito nets, and making available anti-malaria medications to the workers.
Kentz Engineers and Constructors has around 2, 000 OFWs working in the Ambatovy Project, a large tonnage mining project that integrates many facilities to process and refine nickel laterite into pure nickel briquettes.