Borrowed from the concept of the "Safety Passport" the "Malaria Visa" is an on-line training and certification process for use by non-immune personnel traveling to areas where Malaria is a health risk. The person completes the "visa" process prior to departure and carries a printed certificate showing the training dates, the intended destination locations, and certification that he or she has the proper supplies and equipment.

The process ensures all personnel receive the same information, standardizes program implementation, and streamlines arrival procedures in the destination locations.

Sending large numbers of non-immune workers to areas of the world where Malaria poses a health risk is not new or unique to the petroleum industries. During the French phase of Panama Canal construction (1879-1889) as many as 22,000 deaths occurred – many from Malaria and Yellow fever.1  Then, the mechanism of transmission was not yet understood and effective preventive measures did not exist.

Now, times are different. Vaccines are available for yellow fever, the mechanism of Malaria transmission is known, effective tools for prevention are available, and expectations are that no non-immune worker should die from malaria. Even so, every year non-immune travelers and workers perish from Malaria because simple prevention steps are not followed. In many cases, lack of awareness regarding the risks, inadequate use of bite prevention tools, failure to properly use chemoprophylaxis medications, or a failure of early diagnosis and treatment directly contribute to these deaths.

To ensure workers are properly protected from Malaria many companies implement comprehensive Malaria control programs. The "Malaria Visa" is only one tool in a multi-pronged system of Malaria prevention strategies. ExxonMobil personnel who book travel through the company's travel service to areas where Malaria poses a risk are sent a link to a web page on the corporate intranet and instructed to complete a "Malaria Visa." The person enters the site and selects the specific destination countries to which he or she plans to travel.

The person is given the definitions of non-immune and semi-immune and asked to select, for each location, whether he or she is non-immune or semi-immune.

The person is then shown a screen with destination specific Malaria information which will be printed for the person to carry with his or her travel documents.

The person is then prompted to select a connection speed type, slow or fast, and enters specific demographic information to print on the "visa" before being shown a series of short video clips.

The first time user is shown video clips focusing on four areas; Awareness, Bite Prevention, Chemoprophylaxis, and Diagnosis and Treatment. Returning users are required to watch the videos every 12 months. The date a person completes the training is recorded in a database. Each time the person logs in to obtain a new visa the training date is checked and training is automatically provided when it becomes due.

A short two or three question quiz after each video must be answered before the person can move past the module.

Once all the training is completed the person is asked to verify that he or she has (or knows how to obtain) the necessary supplies and medications prior to departure.

If the location is one where standby treatment kits are prescribed and dispensed, the person is given video training on the "Malaria Survival Kit" he/she will receive. Again, a small quiz occurs after the training.

Once all the training is completed the "Malaria Visa" appears on the screen for printing.

Users are prompted to print the completed form and carry it with them for inspection during the arrival screening process.

At the end of the session the system sends an e-mail confirmation to the user and supervisor (e-mail entered by the person).

For personnel who do not have access to the corporate intranet an internet "Malaria Awareness Training Certificate" is also available.

The entire process is data driven and does not use static web pages. Implementing this process requires:

Work Process Integration

Obviously, the program is no good if no one knows about it. Ensuring personnel who need the information are properly identified and provided the opportunity to complete the process before arriving in a malarious area is critical. Likewise, a process must be in place in the destination locations to verify that each non-immune person completed a Malaria Visa. Integrating the Malaria Visa process into the company's travel services reservation systems, country specific travel authorization procedures, and into each location's arrival processes is critical to successful implementation.

Data Maintenance

Processes must exist to obtain and maintain current and accurate destination specific Malaria risk information; training records, and survival kit information. The health and safety staff in each destination location must have the ability to look up in the system information regarding arriving personnel, the status of their Malaria Visas, Survival Kit Information, and Malaria Chemoprophylaxis Compliance Program implementation.


The system is written using Active Server Pages technology and requires a web server and a backend SQL database to operate. Bandwidth constraints in the network can significantly impact performance and greatly impact video playback speeds.

Between program start-up in December 2005 until October 2005, 4,157 Malaria Visas were issued to 2,857 people. System reliability and user acceptance have both been very high.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE Program Committee following review of information contained in a proposal submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper, as presented, have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material, as presented, does not necessarily reflect any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Papers presented at SPE meetings are subject to publication review by Editorial Committees of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper for commercial purposes without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of where and by whom the paper was presented. Write Librarian, SPE, P.O. Box 833836, Richardson, Texas 75083-3836 U.S.A., fax +1-972-952-9435.

The Path Between the Seas
The Creation of the Panama Canal 1870-1914
Simon & Schuster Publishing
New York