Let’s intensify efforts to fight malaria—First Lady

Mrs. Rebecca Akuffo-Addo glancing through a microscope at the exhibition  stand.Whiles Mr. Kingsley  Aboagye Gyedu(left), and others look  on.; Photo;Mercy Amparbeng. (3)

Mrs. Rebecca Akuffo-Addo glancing through a microscope at the exhibition stand.Whiles Mr. Kingsley Aboagye Gyedu(left), and others look on.; Photo;Mercy Amparbeng. (3)

The First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo has stressed the need for the country to intensify efforts towards the fight against malaria despite progresses as it joins in the observance of  World Malaria Day (WMD) today.

This she deemed necessary as the entire population is affected by malaria which burdens the social and economic lives of people.

The First Lady stated this when she launched the Ghana Malaria Foundation, at a ceremony held in Accra yesterday to commemorate the WMD celebrated April 25 across the globe.

Ghana has been able to reduce 79 per cent of malaria mortalities from 6,054 deaths in 2000 to 1,264 deaths in 2016 due to improved case management.

The country recorded at total of 1,264 cases of malaria deaths representing 4.4 per cent of all deaths in 2016 as against 2,137 malaria deaths representing seven per cent of all deaths in 2015.

Mrs Akufo-Addo noted that “Ghana has no excuse to allow malaria to continue to wreck havoc in the lives of people, knowing that the disease is preventable, with effective strategies in place to prevent and reduce its incidence.

“Tremendous progress has been made, but we need to sustain the gains made and this calls for more sustained investments, given the large gaps in our funding levels which needs to be filled in order to achieve a malaria free Ghana,” she said.

Mrs Akufo-Addo appealed to the corporate world to invest in malaria control programmes since every business in Ghana has a worker suffering from malaria, which makes it possible for malaria to affect all businesses.

“By investing in the fight against malaria, you will be exercising your power to stop deaths due to malaria and at the same time your investments will generate real returns as it will be a key driver of business growth,” she noted.

Dr Constance Bart-Plange, Malaria Control Programme Manager, said Ghana has made significant progress as severe malaria cases at the out-patient departments have reduced from 1,405,997 representing 38.8 per cent in 2012 to 1,532,839 representing 24.8 per cent in 2016.

She said presently, 73 per cent of households own at least one insecticide treated nets as against 3.5 households in 2003.

She observed that more pregnant women and children now sleep under treated nets which have contributed to low malaria mortalities in the country.

She expressed concern about the populace’s negative attitude towards sleeping in treated nets and the misuse of the nets for gardening.

Dr Sally-Ann Ohene, a representative from the World Health Organisation (WHO) said this year heralds a new age of  prevention and another potential weapon against malaria as the WHO announced that the world’s first malaria vaccine will be rolled out through pilot projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.

By Linda Naa Deide Aryeetey

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