Please: Login/Register

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.
     

MAGAZINE EDITIONS

  • Sixth Edition

  • First Edition

  • Second Edition

  • Third Edition

  • Fourth Edition

  • Fifth Edition

  • Seventh Edition

  • Eighth Edition

  • Ninth Edition

  • Special Edition

  • INESS Edition

  • Tenth Edition

  • INDEPTH Edition

  • Eleventh Edition

  • Twelfth Edition

  • Special Edition

  • Special Edition

  • March Edition

WAITING FOR HOPE IN THE DARK

By Eunice Menka, Ghana

The house is buried deep in the heart of Teshie, a suburb of Accra. It takes Ttime to meander through houses and negotiate  curves  on  the  dusty  un-tarred road to locate the offices of the Foundation for Women and Children (FOWAC), one of the several HIV/AIDS support groups in the country.

Twice  every  month,  some  40  women  and children  brave  the  busy  and  heavy  Accra- Tema beach road traffic to get to the house, what they see as home, to bond and to find
comfort.

They  come  seeking  support  of  every  sort: physical, psyco-social and financial, among others, as they grope in the dark for help in coming to terms with their HIV status.

Aunty Akua, as she prefers to be called, is t h e   d r i v i n g   f o r c e   b e h i n d   F O W A C , established in 2005.   She has little money but has opened up the FOWAC office at her residence,  where  women,  some  single, some  married  and  others  with  children
meet and plan for their life and livelihood.

This  is  where  they  receive  help  to  set  up small  businesses    ranging  from  petty trading,  production  of  batiks,  exercise books  and  soap  through  small  loans provided by FOWAC with support from the Ghana AIDS Commission.

Some of these women have bonded to find comfort, flee from stigmatization, poverty and  find  resources  to  take  care  of  their health.

Some  have  been  able  to  make  it  and  are now  self-employed.  "Some  cannot  buy drugs when they are ill. Some of them have to  be  assisted  to  get  drugs.  Three  women
with  babies,  very  ill,  recently,  had  to  be assisted  to  receive  free  medical  attention
and drugs," Aunty Akua explains.

Tuberculosis  and  malaria  are  some challenges  these  women  face  and  yet  are unable  to  get  enough  money  to  register with the National Health Insurance Scheme to access free medical services.

Tuberculosis  treatment  is  free  in  Ghana. But for those who come down with malaria ever so often, they cannot afford the new anti-malarial drugs, which are expensive.

"Even  some  of  our  people  cannot  afford antiretroviral drugs, which cost five Ghana  cedis,  how  much  more  a  drug  such  as coartem, very effective for treating malaria  in  HIV  infected  persons.  Coartem  costs eight Ghana cedis." Aunty Akua argues.

She  says  they  are  waiting  for  a  response from  the  Ghana  AIDS  Commission,  after
submitting  a  proposal  for  funding  to register more women and children with the National  Health  Insurance  scheme  to enable  them  access  free  treatment  for malaria and other illnesses.

"You  know  malaria  affects  us  greatly because it is common in Ghana and because of our weak immune systems, an infected person  could  get  three  to  four  malaria attacks within a year."

"Because of stigma, some of our members have no place to lay their heads and are at  the mercies of mosquitoes. We have been advised to sleep under insecticide treated nets," Aunty Akua says.

Malaria,    like  other  diseases  including tuberculosis,   is more difficult to diagnose  in  people  living  with  HIV/AIDS.  The standard  practice  in  malaria  endemic  countries is to assume every fever is malaria until proved otherwise. Many HIV-positive  people feel safer taking drugs immediately . It is evident that malaria kills quickly and it  does  not  wait  for  someone  to  take  a  test first.  It  is  rather  an  irony  many  of  these women die malaria instead.

Dr Oliver Commey of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital,  in  Accra,  has  worked  with  many
HIV-positive persons including Aunty Akua at  the  Fevers  Unit.  Some  are  already  on anti-retroviral. He says the viral load of HIV infection  increases  when  such  persons  come down with malaria.

"HIV infected person became more ill when attacked  by  malaria.  There  is  a  high  concentration of viral load and a stress on the immune system. HIV infected children, when they come down with malaria, end up having a higher viral load too."

"Pregnant  HIV  infected  women  with malaria  are  predisposed  to  giving  birth  to low  birth  weight  children.  They  risks c o m p l i c a t i o n s   a n d   h a v e   r e c u r r e n t 
miscarriages," Dr Commey's adds.

He  advises  that  such  pregnant  women sleep  under  treated  bed  nets  and  go  on preventive intermittent malaria treatment to deal with the disease.

Health  experts  recommend  that  HIV- positive  persons  be  treated  with  a  highly effective anti-malaria drug. However  for  some  members  of  FOWAC they would have to wait for a very long time for  help  due  to  financial  constraints  they cannot  get  anti-malarial  drugs  or  treated bed nets.

"We  would  be  happy  if  a  company  could take  it  upon  themselves  to  regularly support  us  with  some  free  anti-malarials. This would go a long way to help us. It has  not been easy getting such help. Companies are more willing to sponsor beauty pageant programmes," Aunty Akua laments. 

Until, perhaps, the Ghana AIDS Commission hears  their  cry  for  funds  to  register  these women  under  the  National  Health Insurance  Scheme,  these  women  and children would continue waiting in the dark for help.      
       

Editions: 
Second Edition