National Malaria Fund to be set up

PARTICIPANTS at a strategic stakeholders meeting on domestic funding for malaria control, have reached a consensus on a need to set up a National Malaria Fund as the country makes progress towards eradicating the malaria disease.

Consequently, they have rolled out a seven-year national strategic plan to raise over 2.2 billion dollars over the period from domestic resources.

The draft National Strategic Plan when approved, would generate resources from various fundraising programmes targeting the corporate world, civil society, faith based and non-governmental organisations as well as traditional authorities and the general public.

The meeting was against the backdrop of the current global financial crisis which is making it difficult for Ghana to continue to attract the needed donor funding particularly at the time when Ghana had graduated to a lower middle income country.

It was attended by representatives of the donor community, the corporate community, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the media, civil society and non-governmental organisations, the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the Ghana Employers Association.

Mr. Joseph Yileh Chireh, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, made an input on the strategic plan that would see Ghana bridging the resource gap as far as malaria control programme was concerned.

The meeting was organised by the NMCP, with support from the Department for International Development (DFID).

The participants also arrived at a decision to lobby the President, Mr. John Dramani Mahama, to launch the malaria campaign on domestic funding before the end of the first quarter of next year.

Currently, malaria is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in children under five years of age and takes a bulk of the national health care resources.

A professor of Public Health,University of Ghana, Legon, Col. E.A. Afari (rtd), stressed the need for the scaling up of the interventions such as treated mosquito nets, treatment against malaria in pregnant women and the indoor residual spraying exercise being replicated around the country.

The Deputy Programme Manager of the NMCP, Dr. Keziah Malm, emphasized the need for the realisation of local financial resources to fill the resource gap created by the future to slow down donor support.

Mr. Anthony Oppong, Chief Executive Officer of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIB), took the participants through the domestic resource mobilisation process, adding that the country was uncertain about its future malaria funding from development partners, hence the need for the establishment of a sustainable malaria fund.

From Norman Cooper, Elmina

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