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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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Sustaining the Gains

The township of Sunyani was the scene of intense activity as the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) launched this year’s World Malaria Day (WMD) with a call on communities, health workers and the government to help sustain the gains made against the killer disease.

In commemorating the day, the NMCP held a press briefing and a durbar in the Brong-Ahafo Regional capital to bring home the reality that malaria still kills 655,000 people a year, 85 per cent of whom are children aged under-5, and mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa where the prevalence of malaria is highest.

And the statistics above represent a stark improvement from the days when a malaria infection was a death sentence to many.
Between 2010 and 2011, cases of malaria actually fell by 17 per cent - as a result of simple, medicated mosquito nets given out to those who need them the most.  In 2004, global mosquito net distribution was around five million pieces. But now about 130 million of them have been given out.

Dr Constance Bart-Plange, NMCP Manager, said the distribution of Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) has to be stepped up across the country to ensure that every household sleeps under a bed net as part of efforts to sustain the gains made under the national malaria prevention programme.

This year’s World Malaria Day was under the theme “Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria” and it was marked with a procession amidst Brass Band music through some principal streets in Sunyani to create the awareness for all and sundry to get involved in the fight against malaria while the distribution of the ITNs to households to mark the day, began in the region.

Speaking at a durbar held at the forecourt of the VAG Hall in Sunyani to launch the day, Dr Bart-Plange said the gains made under the NMCP include a reduction in malaria-attributable deaths in all ages.

This, she said entails the continuous stocking of at least 95 per cent of health facilities in the country (both public and private), with the most affordable and high quality anti-malarials.

She said the cost of anti-malarials, under the Affordable Medicines Facility-malaria (AMFm), has dropped drastically from the previous GH¢9-12 to GH¢1.50  while 67 per cent of pregnant women, have their unborn babies, protected from malaria due to the use of  Intermittent Preventive Treatment, which is given free.

Dr Bart-Plange noted that the AMFm and other interventions have translated in a reduction in malaria deaths saying now “we are recording less than 4,000 deaths per year. In the year 2000, there were over 40,000 deaths per year.”

“However, these gains are fragile and will be reversed unless malaria continues to be a priority for the community, health workers and government. Long-term success will also depend on investments in on-going research and development to combat emerging threats such as parasite resistance”, she added.

“Very soon, malaria vaccines will be introduced as an addition to all the interventions. It is hoped that, this will revolutionize the control and accelerate the attainment of elimination of malaria from Ghana”, Dr Bart-Plange stated.

The Deputy Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, Eric Opoku said the country was on course to meet the targets for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4, 5 and 6, which specifically focus on health with the target to halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases by 2015.

He stressed the need to sustain the gains made so far under the NMCP, save lives by investing in malaria and other diseases, particularly those that intensify poverty, which may largely be due to the poor environmental sanitation at the community level.

Mr Opoku noted that the theme for the celebration provided a unique opportunity to sensitise the public and organisations on the need to promote clean environment and also reduce the increased burden of non-communicable diseases.  

By Samuel Duodu
 

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