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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 few good signs

The quest to save people from the throes of malaria is evidently bringing good results to Ghanaians. And the results sound better because some of the poorest and most vulnerable are beneficiaries of the good times.

The 2011 multiple indicator cluster survey (MICS) conducted by the Statistical Service throughout Ghana, showed that malaria parasite prevalence rate in children under five years has reduced from over 70 per cent to 27.5 per cent.

Given that the country has been hyper-endemic, with malaria prevalence rate over 50 per cent throughout the year, this is deemed a welcome relief. In fact it is good news!

Other beneficiaries of the malaria control efforts in Ghana could be found in a poor region called Upper West where  cases of the disease reduced from 404, 505 in the year 2011 to 360, 677 in 2012.

This was attributed to the national hang up campaign during which 374, 498 mosquito nets were hanged in 148, 286 households across the region.

Indoor residual spraying (IRS) in the districts was also reported to have helped in the reduction of recorded malaria cases in parts of Ghana.

“The current malaria parasite prevalence results show that we are making progress in the fight against malaria although there are regional variations,” said the Programme Manager of the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), Dr Constance Bart-Plange at a media malaria advocacy orientation in Accra.

Dr Bart-Plange is happy with “progress being made in overcoming malaria in Ghana” but adds “we cannot afford to remove our foot from the pedal. We have to press it harder, gather more speed and defeat this disease”.

Moving into a higher gear has seen Ghana’s NMCP distributing 11,443,691 long lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) thereby achieving over 86 per cent national household ownership of nets.

“That almost 90 per cent of Ghanaian mothers of children aged under-five now know the cause of malaria and are able to identify the mosquito bite as being responsible for the disease, is a positive step in preventing the disease and properly treating it, and we are proud of this achievement” says Dr Bart-Plange.

Scoring against malaria
Another good thing that has happened in relation to malaria lately is the recent African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2013 Football tournament. The opportunity was seized to improve upon the capacity of the media in Ghana to enable journalists sustain advocacy for malaria programming.

The occasion saw the launch of the 3rd edition of Goal Magazine, which provides a platform for disseminating malaria control messages through the game of football.

The magazine highlighted the resolve of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to “kick malaria out” of the continent.

Didier Drogba of Cote d’Ivoire gave a personal testimony of how malaria nearly marred his game and called on all to support the fight against the disease.

The President of CAF, Issa Hayatou declared United Against Malaria a social programme of AFCON 2013 and said “for Africa to compete on the global pitch it must have players and communities that are free from malaria.”

The media and malaria
Moving away from football, key players in the fight against malaria are calling on the media as an influential vehicle to play its role in focusing the political and social agenda more on eliminating Africa's biggest killer.

The media represents a major force in mobilizing public support for all issues — global, national and even local issues.

Adding his voice to the call on media personnel to commit more to malaria, the Country Director of the Johns Hopkins University Centre for Communications Programs (JHU-CCP) Mr Emmanuel Fiagbey, is tasking the media to “find a place for malaria in the news in spite of the many competing events and issues of our time.”

Mr Fiagbey, who also represents the Malaria Voices Advocacy Project, said “We need news items, editorials, features, live interviews on malaria actions and events that will command attention.”

“We as media players need to appeal to the emotions and rationality of our leaders and the population We need to call on sections of the population to act in keeping malaria down the scale of challenges to our development efforts and disseminate best practices among others” he suggested.

Mr Fiagbey conceded that the African media is confronted with critical issues like civil wars, political instability, famine, poverty, disease and deprivation.

 “But malaria, a disease which threatens the lives of children and their mothers daily as well as the workforce whose toil feed, clothe and house us, deserves equal if not greater attention.”

It is disturbing that Africa’s GDP could be $100 billion higher today if malaria had been eliminated in the early 1960s and economists assert that a 10 per cent reduction in malaria cases is associated with 0.3 per cent higher annual growth of the economy of any country.

Furthermore, journalists or talk show hosts need to make malaria a niche issue or problem and contribute to finding solutions to it and be associated with making the world a better place.

“Malaria, our age-old enemy and killer disease certainly deserves to be a niche issue. The media has the power to make it so”, said Mr Fiagbey.

- By Rebecca Kwei - Ghana

Tenth Edition