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ANNOUNCEMENTS:::

TIPS ON MALARIA

  • HOW CAN MOSQUITOES BE CONTROLLED?

    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.

  • HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF FROM MOSQUITO-BORN DISEASES?

    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.

  • WHO ARE AT RISK?


    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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Creating a pool of experts

There is every indication that a full scale-up of current malaria interventions will save many more lives. But it is also true that today's interventions alone will not enable every endemic country to eliminate malaria. This explains the anxiety with which we await a vaccine that can block malaria transmission completely.

While waiting for that to happen, experts recommend that attention is focused on one major factor hindering progress in the fight against malaria - limited human capacity.

Endemic countries are underequipped to deal with the challenges of elimination. As a result, skeleton workforces have been tasked with managing complex malaria control programs, often without additional personnel.

In extreme cases, the same under- staffed units attend to patients with diverse cases of malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, meningitis, to name a few.

To this end, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been working to ensure younger scientists are equipped to build upon the work of the older generation.

Recently, it organized an International Training of Trainers for facilitators and tutors in malaria courses in Africa (AFRO) and East Mediterranean Regions (EMRO).

The 5-day training was organized with a view to creating a pool of high calibre tutors/facilitators who will support the regional and national malaria training courses in Africa.

It is expected that over a certain period, the increased international funding for malaria control will be matched by human capacity.

In an interview with Eyes on Malaria, the WHO Country Advisor on Malaria in Ghana, Dr Felicia Owusu-Antwi, said the training was to equip participants on teaching approaches, methods and techniques and to brush up their skills to make them familiar with the updated WHO training modules on malaria control.
 

Dr Owusu-Antwi said the training covered the following areas:

  • malaria case management, 
  • epidemiological approach to malaria control, 
  • entomology and vector control, etc.

She said Thirty- four (34)participants comprising malaria experts from 10 countries were trained.

It is expected that this pool of tutors and facilitators trained will support the International, Regional and National malaria training courses.

Prof. Fred Binka, Director, School of Public Health, University of Ghana who chaired the opening ceremony deplored the fact that Ghana for instance has only 4 Entomologists which calls for increased investment in capacity development and research.

West Africa Malaria Schools, offering a bilingual course in malariology was described by Prof Binka as a way to equip the younger scientists with skills to ensure that the work of the older generation in malaria control can be built upon.

The timing is really good in view of the target to stop malaria deaths by 2015.

What would be better though is for such training programmes to become quite regular even at country level because different countries have their unique circumstances, calling for tailor-made interventions sometimes.

It is worrying that in some cases the number of trained malaria specialists is shrinking, which is unfortunate given the resolve of the international malaria community to add impetus to the fight against malaria.

Training in health sciences should include a special emphasis on malaria, because of the magnitude of the disease as a health problem in Africa.

It is critical for health workers at all levels to receive continuing education through seminars and conferences, in order to stay informed of the latest concerns and developments with respect to malaria, such as drug or insecticide resistance or possible side effects.

Without this, the successful implementation of technically sound programs may be compromised because of a lack of management training for technical staff.

Brain drain

Any discussion on increasing malaria experts in Africa has to consider ways of checking brain drain.

Experts have called on governments in malaria-prone countries to support training and capacity-building, within local universities and institutions, as well as through less formal structures, for malaria specialists at the doctoral and post-doctoral levels, and also for multi-skilled workers, at lower levels.

Medical research centres like the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Ghana and the host of research institutions attached to African universities have to be supported by governments to grow.

The idea is that by providing an environment within Africa that is stimulating for African scientists, brain drain could be checked because health professionals will then consider it worth their while to work in Africa.

Editions: 
Ninth Edition