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    Mosquitoes around the home can be reduced significantly by minimizing the amount of standing water available for mosquito breeding. Residents are urged to reduce standing water around the home in a variety of ways.


    The best way is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.This can be accomplished using personal protecting  while outdoors when mosquitoes are present. Treated bed nets should be used sleeping. Mosquito repellent should be used when outdoor.


    Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of getting malaria. Pregnant women are particularly at risk of malaria. Children under 5 years are at high risk of malaria.


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A Cocktail of Strategies

Madam Theresa Addae, Principal Community Health nurse of the Sunyani Municipal Health Directorate, will not let politics be an obstacle to the new approach to protect households from mosquito bites.

 “No! This is not politics as usual.” This sums up her militant stance against what she calls “the politicization of the bed net distribution.”
In an election year anything is possible. And things sometimes get coloured in politics.

With this in mind, stakeholders resolved to avoid any political play at a mini durbar in the Brong-Ahafo Region to launch the region’s free distribution and hanging of bed nets under the auspices of the Ghana Health Service and partners.

The durbar was attended by chiefs, elders, community members, health officials and political appointees in Yawhimah Krom community in the Sunyani Municipality.
The massive distribution and hanging of Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLIN) in the communities within Brong-Ahafo is part of a global plan to complement other interventions such as artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) and intermittent preventive treatment for pregnant (IPTp) women to serve as a cocktail of strategies to check malaria.
Although the hang-up exercise started in 2010 with the Brong-Ahafo being the ninth region to benefit from the exercise, politics almost became an issue at the durbar grounds.

Kwasi Lampo, the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) Regional Coordinator, told the gathering that what they were seeing was part of the “Better Ghana Agenda” being pursued by government.

When contacted to explain what he meant as this was not government doing the distribution and hang-up, he had a simple explanation. “A government in power can support or cancel any programme it comes to meet and once the government has given its support, then the hang-up campaign is part of the Better Ghana Agenda.” This almost stirred the hornet’s nest.

Being concerned about the challenges facing the national exercise, Theresa Addae, who works as a district nurse, seized an opportunity to educate the gathering that this was a national exercise with no political parties involved and as such community members should embrace the programme and allow volunteers into their bedrooms to hang up free bed nets made available by the Ghana Health Service and partners.

Despite the modest gains made in bringing malaria cases down there are still daunting realities to dislodge the disease from its top position as the cause of OPD attendance.

Health officials in the Brong-Ahafo region are not satisfied with the gains made and are still worried about the disease.

Anthony Ofori, Brong-Ahafo Regional Malaria Focal Person, said malaria sits high on the list of diseases in the region with some districts such as Sene being critical areas because of the stagnant waters and other breeding sites for mosquitoes.

The Sene district has problems with soil permeability after heavy rainfall. He said with a “lot of people sleeping in the bed nets cases of malaria will go down.”  

Indeed the statistics speak for themselves. A visit to the Techiman Municipal Health Directorate tells of not just statistics but the lives involved and the sufferings that malaria has caused over the years.
Madam Clementia Bagrmwin, the Malaria Focal Person in the Municipality, says in the first quarter of 2012, there were 34,282 reported malaria cases in the Techiman Municipality, although she acknowledges that during this time, there were “no rapid diagnostics test kits so cases may be higher. This can come down if we have kits.”

She said in 2011, malaria cases were 129, 582, because there were many more reporting centers such as the CHPS compound and maternity homes.

The figure in the Municipality for 2010 was 77, 715. In 2009 it was 92,589. In 2008 it was as high as 109,873 but was lower in 2007 at 93,245.

Techiman is one of the districts where the malaria control programme was piloted to cover interventions such as home based treatment of malaria and the administration of SP to pregnant women through the IPT programme.
The current roll-out of the nation-wide distribution and hang – up exercise could help bring down the Techiman statistics, which in real terms represents the young and the old, many of whom may have lost their lives to the disease.

If communities would make good use of the hang-up exercise, then these treated bed nets would complement other preventive and control tools, such as artemisinin-based combination therapy and intermittent Preventive treatment, to serve as a cocktail of strategies to manage the disease.

By Eunice Menka

Special Edition