MANY activities are taking place across the globe today, especially in malaria endemic countries, to raise awareness and engender commitment by policymakers to reduce the burden of Malaria.

Researchers are engaging policymakers, to update their findings about malaria prevention and control, nurses and doctors are working around the clock in health institutions to diagnose and treat malaria cases, journalists are at workshops and seminars to learn and sharpen their skills on the cause and effects of the disease to enable them to accurately report and influence policy in the fight against the disease.

Malaria is a deadly disease that is transmitted to man through the bite of the female anopheles mosquito, otherwise known as “night biting” mosquitoes. Infected persons present symptoms like shaking chills, fever, vomiting, and loss of appetite, to mention but a few, and it can be fatal in children under five years if not adequately treated within 48 hours. Pregnant women are also at the mercy of this deadly disease.

The parasites carried by the mosquitoes are four species: Ghana by virtue of our location in tropics is susceptible to the very deadly type, Plasmodium Falciparum which is taking a heavy toll on the lives of pregnant women and children under five, productivity and Gross Domestic Product.

In Ghana, available statistics indicate that, malaria accounts for 39 per cent of Out Patient Department attendance in health institutions, 27 per cent admissions and seven per cent deaths. Its startling statistic has it that it accounts for the death of three children every day.

Malaria was elevated at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Submit that ended in London recently because of its devastating effects on the economies and health of the commonwealth countries and extension to other developed countries.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo articulated Ghana’s efforts at malaria prevention and control in Ghana where about 10.4 million cases were recorded   in 2016.

He enumerated measures  instituted to control the disease and reduce the burden by including integrated vector control, malaria case management, seasonal malaria chemoprevention, integrated support system including behavioural change communication and advocacy, early detection and treatment, tax exemption on malaria related commodities and drug resistance.

Indeed, drug resistance is a major challenge in the fighting the scourge of malaria. Mosquitoes, like any other living thing have survival instincts and will find ways to resist its remedies. When the scientists are closing on malaria; mosquito the causative agent gives them a yard by resisting the therapy.

As we mark the day, the question to ask is; Are we ready to beat Malaria? We also remind African Heads of State of the pledge they made: Abuja Declaration- at their meeting in the Nigerian capital in the year 2000 to reduce the burden of malaria on the continent!

At the Commonwealth Heads of State Meeting in London, the “big guys” in the fight against the malaria, Bill and Melinda Gates, GSK to mention but a few to made good their pledges to redouble their investment in malaria control and prevention, especially making the resources available for the pilot testing of the newly discovered malaria vaccine to assure of its efficacy in expanded programme in immunisation.

This would enhance our tools in combating the deadly disease. We are aware we cannot eradicate malaria: but we believe with determination we can eliminate it!


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