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.
Navrongo, located in the Kassena-Nankana district of the Upper East Region of Ghana, is an important town, which has contributed a lot to the development of the health of Ghanaians.
The district is on the world map because of the Navrongo Health Research Centre (NHRC), one of the nation's three health research centres, that has made significant impact on malaria control.
The centre, established in the 1990s, researches in to priority health problems facing Ghanaians to inform policy decisions on appropriate interventions.
Its modest seeds of research activities sown over several years have led to evidence-based health interventions which is still yielding significant harvests and impacting on health outcomes in the country.
The centre was one of the first research sites in sub-Saharan Africa to conduct an insecticide treated bed net trial to assess their role in reducing malaria mortality among infants and young children.
Owing to the success of trials at this centre, insecticide treated bed nets have become pivotal in the intervention schemes of malaria control programmes. As a result bed net use around the Centre's population is among the highest in the country.
Today, Ghanaians have seen a nation-wide hang-up campaign and distribution of free bed nets by the National Malaria Control Programme under a universal coverage programme to break malaria transmission.
Locally, the Navrongo Health Research Centre is making lots of contributions and it is also on the international map as one of the INDEPTH Network sites.
Since becoming a member of the INDEPTH network, it has undertaken epidemiogical studies in various diseases including malaria to generate reliable data for better understanding of malaria within its catchment area.
According to Dr Lucas Amenga-Etego, a research fellow of the NHRC these studies have covered a seasonal prevalence of malaria parasitaemia in all age groups and malarial anaemia among children.
“In addition, with the help of the Navrongo Health Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) large cohort studies were conducted to ascertain the age-specific burden of malaria by measuring the incidence of malaria and malaria-asociate d mortality among young children under the age of five years who bear the brunt of malaria disease in endemic populations.” He said.
Throwing more light on some of the centre’s current studies, Dr Amenga- Etego said the NHRC is at the moment actively working with AngloGold Ashanti Limited to implement indoor
residual spraying (IRS) initiatives in various districts in northern Ghana to control the transmission of malaria.
On malaria prevention and treatment, he said prior to the introduction of the artemisin in combination therapy (ACTs) for malaria in Ghana, the NHRC undertook various drug trials to assess the efficacies of several antimalarial compounds as alternatives to chloroquine which had lost efficacy as first line treatment for uncomplicated malaria.
“These studies generated useful data that were crucial for the adoption of artesunate-amodiaquine as first line treatment for malaria in Ghana,” Dr Amenga-Etego added.
The centre has also been working with other INDEPTH network sites in the INDEPTH Effectiveness and Safety Studies into anti malarials (INESS) project being carried out in Ghana, Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Mozambique.
The INESS study is a four-year project aimed at providing decision makers across Africa with independent and objective evidence on the safety and effectiveness of ACTs.
Under the first phase, the INESS project provided evidence on some ACTs to find out if they are efficacious, safe, affordable, accessible and how prescribers and clients are complying with the treatment regimen, especially within health systems, both private and public.
He said active data collection for most of the INESS project modules ended in June 2012.
“Therefore, having built the human and resource capacity through this first phase of the projects, a platform for phase IV clinical trials have been established”.
“In particular, the malaria research activities have had a significant positive impact on the uptake of malaria interventions. The coverage of inscticide treated bed net use in general has been rising steadily in our study population. In particular the uptake of these intervntions for vulnerable groups such as children and pregnant mothers is high with over 60% of under-fives sleeping under these nets,” he noted.
“Besides, the community views of the current antimalarial drug policy are strong and uptake of ACTs over other forms of monotherapies readily available from private facilities is improving.
In addition, thanks to our research activities, antenatal attendance has improved greatly and more women are gaining access to malaria prophylactic drugs (SP) during pregnancy,” Dr Amenga-Etego added.
He also spoke of some benefits from INDEPTH Network that helped deepen knowledge and understanding of malaria related issues in the Centre.
“The NHRC has benefited from various training, capacity building workshops and technical support from INDEPTH that cover many aspects of malaria. INDEPTH's scientific, data analysis and writing workshops have gone a long way in strengthening the Centre's capacity to effectively disseminate research findings to our research population and beyond.”
He said since it’s inception the INDEPTH network has played a critical role in helping to build the needed capacity for “our research activities. Besides the continuous education opportunities that come to the Centre under the umbrella of INDEPTH, it has been pivotal in developing the Centre's capacity for field epidemiology through master level training in this area.”
“Equally important is the platform created by the network for interaction with scientists from other malaria endemic populations, which has engendered growth through collaboration and data sharing,” Dr Amenga- Etego said.
No doubt all these seeds have resulted in a fruitful harvest of malaria control interventions, which have impacted positively on Ghanaians.