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The Latest Edition of "Eyes on malaria" magazine will be out very soon!! | CALL FOR ARTICLES: AMMREN is inviting journalists / writers / scientists interested in reporting on malaria to send articles for publication in its international magazine “Eyes on Malaria” and for posting on its website. Please contact the AMMREN Secretariat for more details click here. Enjoy your stay!. Volunteers and interns urgently needed to work with an NGO working in the area of malaria and health. Apply through - ammren1@gmail.com / ammren1@yahoo.com. Journalists interested in reporting on and writing articles on health issues should please reply through this email: ammren1@gmail.com

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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Inspiration from the past

Cuts in grants by the Global Fund, among other reasons, have seen a review of plans by AGAMal, resulting in the scaling down of plans to roll out the malaria control intervention to 40 districts.

After covering up to 25 districts with the IRS intervention, the coverage ßigures dropped to nine districts in the Upper West and Obuasi in the Ashanti region.

Some districts in the Upper West region where the IRS programme is being ran include the Wa Municipality, Wa West, Wa East, Nadowli, Jirapa, Lawra, Sissala West and Sissala East.

Although the IRS intervention did not commence in the Upper West region until 2012, unlike the Obuasi programme, there are signs of success as was captured a few years    ago, during a visit by a  team from AGAMal and AngloGold Ashanti.

The former Vice President of Sustainability at AngloGold Ashanti, Mr. Fred Attakumah had paid a working visit to the Upper East and Upper West Regions. The visit was to demonstrate the company's commitment to the fight against malaria in Ghana.    

Accompanied by the Programme Director of AGAMal Mr. Sylvester Segbaya, the Vice   President visited seven districts in the Upper West Region. These districts included the Wa Municipality, Wa West, Nadowli, Jirapa, Lawra,    Sissala    West and Sissala East.

The visit also took the Vice President to the Builsa and Kassena-Nankana districts as well as the Bolgatanga Municipality all in the Upper East Region.

During a courtesy call on the Upper West Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service, Mr. Attakumah commended the Regional Director and his team for the support they had accorded the malaria control programme.

He added that the IRS programme had not only impacted the  health and wellbeing of residents in the  beneficiary communities but had also positively affected the educational sector and the economy through the creation of jobs.

For his part, the Upper West Regional Director of Ghana Health Service, Dr. Alexis Nangbeifubah, commended AGAMal for their efforts and the positive impact on the people in the region.

Dr. Nangbeifubah added that even though the IRS intervention commenced in the latter part of 2012, malaria incidents in the region had already stabilized and he was confident that there would be further significant decline with time.    

Projections    
Although AGAMal's programme had    faced challenges following cuts    in grants to fuel a scale-up to the 40 districts  as originally conceived, there are however some strong possibilities of a return to the Upper East region.

The IRS programme did cover the entire Upper East region as the aim was to reduce malaria transmission and it was a timely intervention as the region had the highest malaria parasite prevalence in the country. And the disease basically affected every economic activity of the region and there was high absenteeism in    schools.

AGAMal programme manager, Mr Sylvester Segbaya,    referred to the    2011 Multiple Indicator  Cluster Survey (MICS), which indicated that the Upper East region had a 44% malaria parasite prevalence rate.    

However, in 2014 the Demographic and Health Surveillance report indicated a reduction of these cases to 11.8%.

Mr. Segbaya said based on this drop in prevalence figures, AGAMal is planning to return    to the Upper East, to at least, keep the 11% malaria parasite prevalence rate from worsening, by sourcing for 8 million dollars to roll-out the malaria programme in his region, every year.

He said    they are looking at stakeholder-organisations in various industries such as the mines, oil and gas sectors to provide the funds for the Upper East project.

Past Glory
Despite the current challenges, AGAMal managers can still look back to their past glory to help them stage a come back    to regions such    as the Upper East region.

Past successes are enough to motivate the organization to keep moving on. One such remarkable achievement was the extension of the programme to the Western region. AGAMal marked the 2013 World Malaria Day with the l aunch of the IRS programme in the Western Region at an event at Bonsa in    the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality.

The IRS programme was to cover districts such as Ahanta West, Tarkwa Nsuaem, Prestea Huni Valley, Ellembelle and Axim Districts.

Municipal Director of Health Services, Dr. Jack Galley noted that it was a delight to partner with them for its “world-class malaria control programme,” adding that in a region with significant natural and agricultural resources, addressing the malaria disease burden would translate into huge reduction in absenteeism at work, on farms and in schools.

“The programme will cont ribute immensely to the economic development of the Western Region, in addition to improving and reducing the cost of health care delivery. This is a model for Public Private Partnerships”, Dr. Galley further stated.

A great story to inspire AGAMal for the future is that of Adelekezo, a small farming community located in the Nzema East District of the Western Region. It is estimated that most of the economically active population are engaged in subsistence agriculture and agro-processing.

The prevalence of malaria in the community over the years made it impossible for children to be regular at school and the farmers to regularly attend to their farms.

A straw poll in the community showed that due to the timely intervention of the AGAMal IRS programme in the district in 2013, absenteeism among the school children and    the adult working population has markedly reduced.

Beside Adelekezo in Nzema East District, other districts in the Western Region have testimonies to confirm that malaria, which was a setback to their socio-economic activities, reduced drastically in their communities during the programme.
 

Editions: 
Special Edition Two