The African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN) yesterday, paid a courtesy call on the Editor of the Ghanaian Times.
AMMREN is a network of African journalists and scientists working together to reduce the burden of malaria on the continent through various programmes, activities, and research solutions for policy decisions.
The visit was to extend the network’s appreciation to the editor, journalists, and the print media organisation for its support in the fight against malaria in the country.
The Executive Secretary, Dr Charity Binka, noted that the media was an important player in the country’s quest to move from its current control stage to the elimination of the disease in the country, being spearheaded by the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP).
She explained that though many gains had been made in that regards, since the onset of the COVID-19, there had been a drawback in the country’s fight against the disease.
Dr Binka used the opportunity to express appreciation, particularly to the Editor for using the resources at his disposable, including journalists and the newspaper for the “Zero Malaria” campaign which was launched in the country in 2019.
According to her, the media had a pivotal role in educating, informing and sensitising the public on issues of malaria, covering its causes, effects, and preventive measures.
The AMMREN Executive Secretary said that due to some similarities of the symptoms of malaria and the COVID-19, many were those, especially in the rural areas who stayed away from the hospital when they experienced such symptoms.
This, she underscored, was a threat to the country’s fight against the disease and called for more involvement of the media, saying, “The media must get involved more in encouraging people to go to the hospital each time they had any symptom of malaria, and get tested so that the right medication will be given to them.”
“There are places that the media can reach that health workers cannot go, especially in the rural areas where accessibility is difficult, but they can tune in to the radio or watch television and they will get the information,” she said.
“Today, people can even read the newspaper on their phones, so I will like to urge the media to continue their reportage on issues of malaria so that the goal of the ‘Zero Malaria’ campaign will be achieved,” Dr Binka emphasised.
Also, she asked the media to intensify its public education and sensitisation on the use of mosquito nets, noting that, they had observed that some Ghanaians were using the nets for other things, than its intended purpose, which is to prevent people from been bitten my anopheles mosquitoes, which transmit malaria to them.
She also said that as part of efforts to motivate journalists in reporting particularly on the issues of malaria, it would reward players in the sector during this year’s World Malaria Day, scheduled for April 4.
The Editor for the Ghanaian Times, Mr David Agbenu, lauded AMMREN for their consistency in their campaigns and efforts in the fight against malaria.
He noted that many organisations that sprung up to join the fight against the malaria fight have given up along the way but AMMREN, since 2006 have remained committed to the fight, and encouraged then to continue.
He stated that “There is no excuse not to propagate issues of malaria and our duty as journalists is to continue to report and make the public well-informed about the disease.”
He reiterated the newspaper’s resolve to continue to support AMMREN and other organisations to ensure that the country’s goal concerning malaria was achieved.
Mr Agbenu also urged other media organisations not to forget malaria and other diseases amidst the COVID-19 despite the high temptation of neglect of such diseases.
BY FRANCIS NTOW