An epidemiologist and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Health and Allied Sciences, Professor Fred Binka, has advised government to commit more resources to fight malaria.
According to him, the “magic bullet” to achieve malaria elimination or eradication was a strong political commitment.
He gave the advice yesterday during the Malaria Elimination Think Tank Agenda workshop, organised by the Ghana Health Service (GHS), National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) in Accra.
The workshop was to brainstorm on strategies and interventions needed for the paradigm shift from malaria control to elimination as well as produce recommended strategies for the development of Ghana Malaria Elimination Plan.
Professor Binka noted that the country had technical knowledge and tools to eliminate malaria yet the allocation of resources to fight it was very low.
“In order to get things done to help eliminate malaria, other approaches to fight malaria must be varied in regions and in seasons, the one-size-fits-all approach being used currently would not help eliminate malaria in the country,” he said.
He emphasised the need to promote high level and multi-stakeholder engagements, improve strategic partnerships, increase focus on malaria at all levels and implement malaria elimination strategies to ensure it was high on the national agenda.
Underscoring the need for a scale-up of interventions, curative strategies and quality data for the fight of malaria, the Director General of GHS, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, said the world had reached a critical juncture in the fight against malaria.
“Since 2000, eight countries have eliminated malaria with many other countries reaching very low levels of transmission, Ghana is no exception and there is an urgent need of approaches that aim to reduce transmission, morbidity and mortality in the country,” he said.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye added that although significant progress had been made to fight malaria over the years, progress could be hastened through an innovative expansion of interventions.
“We have to make the response to malaria a higher technical, financial and political priority and ensure that the development and use of new tools and solutions are maximised,” he stated.
The Programme Manager of NMEP, Dr Keziah Malm, on her part said the goal was to reduce malaria mortality by 90 per cent, reduce malaria case incidence by 50 per cent and achieve malaria pre-elimination in at least six districts by 2025.
“Basically, we pushing for the eventual elimination of malaria in the country, if not in the whole country at least part of it hence, the right political commitment would be needed to push the agenda,” she stressed.
BY ANITA ANKRAH