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Marathon and Partners Announce Dramatic Results of Malaria Control Project on Bioko Island in Equatorial Guinea

HOUSTON, June 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --

  • 64 percent reduction in death among children under the age of five on Bioko Island
  • 57 percent decline in the prevalence of malaria infections in children between two and five years of age on Bioko Island
  • 86 percent decline in anemia in children between two and five years of age on Bioko Island

Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE: MRO) announced today that the Bioko Island Malaria Control Project (BIMCP) in Equatorial Guinea has achieved measurable results dramatically reducing the risk of death in children on Bioko Island in Equatorial Guinea, as reported in the scientific journal The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (AJTMH).

In 2003, Marathon and its business partners Noble Energy (NYSE: NBL), GEPetrol and SONAGAS, joined with the Government of Equatorial Guinea through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and formed a team of leading health specialists. The malaria control project was designed by Medical Care Development International (MCDI) and conducted under the sponsorship of the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. The main focus of the NMCP project is those at highest risk: children under five years of age and pregnant women.

The peer-reviewed scientific findings, as published in the June 2009 AJTMH article, "Marked Increase in Child Survival after Four Years of Intensive Malaria Control," include the following:

  • The death rate from any cause was reduced by 64 percent for children under the age of five on Bioko Island. By interviewing a statistically-valid random sample of nearly 2,400 Bioko Island households, the BIMCP found the under-age-five death rate for the four years before the project started to be 152 per 1,000 births. The death rate for the four-year period from March 2004 to February 2008 fell to 55 per 1,000 births.
  • The prevalence of malaria infections and anemia in children between two and five years of age declined 57 percent and 86 percent respectively. Each year from 2004 through 2008, a random cross-section of families agreed to having their children's blood tested for the presence of malaria parasites and for anemia, a very frequent result of malaria. The results provide impressive direct evidence of the project's success.
  • Fevers declined in children between two and five years of age by 56 percent. During the same household visits, mothers consented to answer questions related to the family's health. The reduction in reported fevers - the most common symptom of malaria - also indicates a major reduction in malaria among Bioko Island's children.
  • High rates of indoor spraying and bed net use were achieved. About 80 percent of households on Bioko Island received indoor residual spraying twice per year, from 2004 through 2008, and 75 percent of households also used insecticide-treated bed nets by 2008. More than 80 percent of children under age five received at least one of the two protective measures throughout the study period.

"We are extremely pleased that the results of the BIMCP have been so profound - rising above and beyond the goals set by the U.N., and standing as a model initiative with potentially great impact for global health," said Clarence P. Cazalot, Jr., Marathon president and CEO. "When Marathon began business operations in Equatorial Guinea, we quickly identified malaria as a key issue facing both employees and the local communities on Bioko Island. It was clear that a dramatic reduction in malaria transmission on Bioko Island would significantly reduce both the healthcare and economic burden of this disease and make a significant difference to the lives of Equatoguineans. The collective achievements of this ground-breaking public-private partnership have been made possible by the outstanding leadership of the Government of Equatorial Guinea and a shared vision of creating a brighter future for all Equatoguineans."

In addition to lead public health experts from MCDI and officials from the Government of Equatorial Guinea Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the other health specialists who participate in BIMCP represent One World Development Group, the Medical Research Council of South Africa, the Harvard School of Public Health, Yale University, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Texas A&M University, and local and Spanish chapters of the Red Cross.

Malaria kills more than 1 million people every year. Ninety percent of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa, and almost all are children under the age of five. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals call for a two-thirds reduction in mortality among children under five years of age by 2015.

"Equatorial Guinea is proud to have created an exemplary partnership and a malaria intervention model for the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa," said His Excellency Francisco Pascual Obama Asue, Minister of Health and Social Welfare of Equatorial Guinea. "This initiative is an integral part of our national strategy to fight malaria, and is saving the lives of the most vulnerable in our communities, especially young children. I hope our success will inspire and pave the path forward in reshaping how malaria control can be accomplished around the world and in working together within the framework of the adopted strategy."

As a result of the early success, a five-year extension of the BIMCP was announced by the President of Equatorial Guinea in September 2008 at the New York summit organized by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to assess the Millennium Development Goal to halve global poverty by 2015, including by tackling malaria. In response to the Secretary-General's call to action, the BIMCP public-private partnership committed to investing an additional $28 million to continue its malaria control initiative through 2013. One-third of the project funds will be a direct investment by the Government of Equatorial Guinea, and the remaining two-thirds was committed by Marathon, Noble Energy and business partners.

The BIMCP began in 2003 as a five-year, $15.8 million initiative to address the burden of disease attributable to malaria on the population of Bioko Island. In 2006, the BIMCP was expanded to the mainland of Equatorial Guinea through a multi-year commitment by the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) totaling $26 million and an additional Marathon grant of $1 million, making this program the only integrated malaria control project with nationwide coverage in Africa. The announced project extension will bring the total spending on malaria control in Equatorial Guinea to approximately $71 million.

2009 Business Excellence Award Presented by Global Business Coalition

Additionally, Marathon, on behalf of the BIMCP partnership, will be honored later today in Washington, DC by the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The BIMCP was recognized with a Business Excellence Award in the category of Performance Measurement. From the outset, the BIMCP has been designed and implemented with a strong, integrated approach toward performance measurement. It utilizes state-of-the-art information technologies, such as the use of hand-held computers, or PDAs, linked into a geographic information system (GIS) database which enables real-time and location-specific data collection, processing and analysis; and new and improved light-emitting diode (LED) light traps to maximize the number of mosquito trappings that can be measured.

Marathon is an integrated international energy company engaged in exploration and production; oil sands mining; integrated gas; and refining, marketing and transportation operations. Marathon has principal operations in the United States, Angola, Canada, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Indonesia, Ireland, Libya, Norway and the United Kingdom. Marathon is the fourth largest United States-based integrated oil company and the nation's fifth largest refiner.

Noble Energy, Inc. is a leading independent energy company engaged in worldwide oil and gas exploration and production. The Company operates primarily in the Rocky Mountains, Mid-Continent, and deepwater Gulf of Mexico areas in the United States, with key international operations offshore Israel, the United Kingdom and West Africa.

GEPetrol was established in 2001 as the National Oil Company of Equatorial Guinea and has upstream interests through participation in petroleum contracts with foreign oil companies. GEPetrol operates as a commercial entity alongside the Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy, which is Equatorial Guinea's regulatory authority.

Sociedad Nacional de Gas de Guinea Ecuatorial (SONAGAS, G.E) is the state-owned natural gas company responsible for all gas-related projects in Equatorial Guinea.

    Media Relations Contacts:     Lee Warren           713-296-4103
                                  Leslie Hiltabrand    713-296-4102

    Investor Relations Contacts:  Howard Thill         713-296-4140
                                  Chris Phillips       713-296-3213

SOURCE Marathon Oil Corporation
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