Ghana is still endemic with malaria despite remarkable strides made in the prevention of the disease over the years, the result of the Demographic Health Survey (DHS), on malaria in 2014 has revealed.
The survey indicated that the nation is still at the control stage and is far from reaching the pre-elimination stage of the disease, which places Ghana at a tipping point in the fight against malaria.
The Programmes Officer of the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), Mr. James Frimpong, who said this at a press briefing on this year’s World Malaria Day (WMD) in Accra, noted that efforts at preventing malaria in the country has not achieved the desired results due to the limited financial resources for malaria control.
Malaria, according to the DHS, remains a major cause of hospital attendance, contributing about 30 per cent of the Out-Patients Department (OPD), 27.9 per cent of in-patients and 7.7 per cent of deaths, although the national prevalence rate has dropped over the past five years.
“The national prevalence rate for malaria dropped from 34.9 per cent in 2010 to 27.3 per cent in 2014 with the case fatality rate also declining from 10.5 and 18.1 in 2010 and 2011 to 7.2 per cent in 2014”, it revealed .
Similarly the over 11. 4 million malaria cases recorded across the country as of 2013, dropped steadily to 8.4 million in 2014.
The survey further indicated that the malaria prevalence in children within six to 59 months, declined from 1.32 per cent in 2010 to 1.20 per cent in 2011, and 0.60 per cent in 2012, to 0.57 per cent in 2013 and currently 0.51 per cent in 2014.
Mr. Frimpong said that defeating malaria requires the efforts of all sectors and not the health sector only.
He said the NMCP in an effort to prevent malaria, distributed 1,371993 mosquito nets through the Eastern and Volta regional distribution points last year and would by the first half of this year, distribute 2,874,625 nets through its Western and Brong-Ahafo regional distribution points.
The NMCP prog-rammes officer cited ‘beneficiaries’ failure to use the net regularly, inappropriate care seeking attitude of some caretakers of children under five, and high levels of presumptive malaria treatment as some of the challenges of the programme.
He said the program-me would within this year, implement Seasonal Malaria Chemo-prevention (SMC) in the Upper West Region.
This year’s WMD slated for April 25, would be commemorated in Ghana in the Western Region to raise public awareness about disease. The theme for the 2015 WMD is a repetition of last year’s theme, ‘Invest in the future- defeat malaria’.
By Linda Aryeetey & Mavis Menano