Govt urged to intensify campaign against malaria

Mr Kwaku Agyemang Manu ,Health Minister

Mr Kwaku Agyemang Manu ,Health Minister

Government has been urged to intensify its efforts at controlling malaria, particularly in the rural and farming communities in the country.

According to the Private Sector Malaria Prevention (PSMP) report, malaria was prevalent in farming communities, especially around irrigated rice farms and dammed river bodies, hence the need to step-up control campaign against the disease.

Consequently, mechanisation of agriculture by the government through the implementation of ‘One Village, One Dam’ and ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ must be accompanied by intensified malaria control measures, to protect people living in those areas.

This came to light at a stakeholder malaria prevention forum organised by the PSMP, a UK Aid funded project, which sought to increase private sector investment in malaria prevention in Sunyani.

The project is being implemented by John Hopkins Centre for Communication programme.

It was attended by farmers, farmer-based organisations and other interested agricultural groups drawn from Brong-Ahafo and beyond.

The Technical Business Advisor of PSMP, Tetteh Ogum, noted that malaria-afflicted farmers only harvest 40 per cent of their crops, while they spend about 22 working days seeking treatment.

He said a study conducted by the organisation in 2014 revealed that the cost (treatment and loss of productivity) of malaria to agri-businesses was estimated at GH¢2.7 million.

“Lack of proper investment in malaria prevention has a direct impact on agricultural productivity, which contributes largely to the socio-economic development of the country,” Mr Ogum said.

He noted that governments over the years had played the lead role in malaria prevention activities and that the time has come for the private sector to support the cause.

Mr Ogum mentioned the use of long-lasting insecticide nets (LLINs) as the common and cost-effecting means of controlling malaria.

The Brong Ahafo Regional Veterinary Officer, Dr Saviour Denueme, said the impact of malaria on a farm business could be devastating on farm communities, especially at planting, weeding and harvesting times, leading to low productivity.

“Productivity is reduced due to sick workers, and workers care for sick family members to the neglect of their farms”, he said.

FROM DANIEL DZIRASAH, SUNYANI

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