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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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THE SEEDS AND THE HARVEST

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.
 

Editions: 
INDEPTH Edition