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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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MALARIA ERADICATION COUNTDOWN

By Becky Kwei, Ghana

Celebrated  British  wartime  Prime  Minister  Winston  Churchill  had  a  favourite  quote “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end  of the beginning.”

Perhaps  the  Global  Malaria  Action  Plan  (GMAP) which  aims  to  eradicate  malaria   worldwide  by 2015 can be put in the context of Churchill's quote.

The GMAP was unveiled in September 2008 at the Millennium  Development  Goals  Malaria  Summit in  New  York.  It  presents  a  comprehensive overview of the global malaria landscape and an evidence-based  approach  to  deliver  effective prevention and treatment to people at risk.

Malaria  eradication  is  probably  the  greatest donors comprising world leaders and philanthropists  who  have  pledged  nearly  three billion dollars hope the money will be enough to eradicate malaria by that time. '

The money would not only support the provision of  bed  nets  but  also  provide  funds  for  needed research and serve as incentives to ensure that the cost  of  malaria  drugs  are  available  among  other interventions. One of the focuses of the GMP is to produce an effective vaccine against malaria. “We want  to  have  a  vaccine  that  has  an  even  better
effect  of  100  percent  coverage”  says  Microsoft Founder,  Bill  Gates  at  the  launch  of  the  GMAP where the Gates Foundation pledged an additional $168 million to the malaria vaccine initiative.

So what is Africa's role in all of this?

“It  is  still  early  to  say  what Africa's  role  in  renewed efforts  to  eradicate  malariaI is. Certainly, Africa's primary ambition should be to scale-up its health systems to achieve universal access to malaria treatment and prevention before moving  on  to  elimination and then eradication. We are still very far from that,” says Professor Don de Savigny of the Swiss Tropical Institute.

Ghana has however showed signs that she is ready to take the disease head on. Ghana's new Health Minister, Dr George Sipa Adjah-Yankey,voiced his passion about fighting malaria when he appeared before theAppointments Committee of Parliament to be vetted.

He said under his stewardship, the Ministry of Health  would  set  up  a  Malaria  Elimination Programme (MEP) to bring malaria to a level that  would  no  longer  become  a  public  health problem in the country.

“It has been my dream to eliminate malaria from this country and i will do it when given the nod,"he  told the Vettingd Committee.

Dr. Adjah-Yankey said he would collaborate with his  counterparts  within  the  West  African  sub- region  to  completely  eradicate  malaria  from  the sub-region.    Echoing  the  same  sentiments  was Ghana's  Finance  Minister,  Dr  Kwabena  Duffuor who pledged his commitment to fight malaria by the  huge  allocation  he  gave  to  the  fight  against malaria  when  he  presented  the  2009  budget  to Parliament.

“As  part  of  current  strategy  to  control  and eradicate malaria, education and advocacy will be intensified  to  increase  utilisation  of  insecticide treated  nets  (ITNs)  nationwide,  indoor  residual spraying and the scaling up of   the bio-larviciding projects in Central, Western and other regions” Dr Duffour says.

The other interventions include  a  mass  treatment pilot  project  in  the  Greater Accra  Region  of  Ghana  with the aim of eliminating malaria parasite from a section of the population.

The Finance Minister even touched  on the use of research into the cryptolepis plant that is used extensively in Ghana as herbal medicine for the treatment of malaria.Some preliminary results show that the crude extract of the plant completely eliminates malaria parasites within some days with no adverse effects. The plant know locally as 'NIMIBA'   local in Akuapem dialect, is also effective in  reducing  high  body  temperature. 

The  Finance Minister  announced  that  the  Noguchi  Memorial Institute  for  Medical  Research  (NMIMR)  of  the University of Ghana would conduct clinical trials on  the  medicinal  plant,  in  collaboration  with  a strategic investor, Phytica Limited, under a public- private partnership agreement.

If the initiative succeeds, it is expected to reduce the importation of malaria drugs into the country.

Currently, Ghana is holding discussions with both the Medicines for Malaria Venture of Switzerland and  the  Bill  Clinton  Foundation  of  the  US  on  the possibility  of  the  country  participating  in  the Affordable Medicines Facility for Malaria (AMFm) initiative. 

This  initiative  aims  to  provide  good quality artemisinin-combination antimalarials at a cost of about 10US cents to a patient. Since these drugs  are  expensive,  the  AMFm,  as  a  model, provides subsidies to companies or distributors to cover their costs and profits enabling them to sell these  products  to  patients  at  the  lowest  cost possible, targeted to be about 10 cents or the cost of  chloroquine  tablets. 

Were  Ghana  to  embark upon that, it is hoped that the financial barrier to accessing  effective  antimalarials  for  treatment would be removed making it possible for patients to get treatment promptly when needed.

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