Ghana has achieved its target for reducing deaths associated with malaria as mortality rate had been cut down by 85 per cent from 2,799 in 2012 to 428 by end of 2018.
Per the country’s strategic plan for malaria control (2014-2020) the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) had set out to reduce malaria morbidity and mortality by 75 per cent based on the 2012 figures.
Programmes Manager of NMCP, Dr Keziah Malm at a press briefing ahead of this year’s World Malaria Day (WMD), said, under-five malaria case fatality rate and malaria related admissions had also reduced by 73 per cent and 18 per cent respectively by end of 2018.
“In 2012, we recorded eight people dying from malaria every day while one person died from the disease every day in 2018 so target with respect to mortality has been achieved however, we have not made much progress with controlling the disease,” she observed.
According to her, about 11,027,087 uncomplicated suspected malaria cases were recorded in 2018 out of which 5,510,210 were confirmed.
About 4,000.000 of those cases, Dr Malm confirmed, were treated but mentioned challenges including non-adherence to treatment, abuse of insecticide treated nets and long-lasting insecticidal nets, low preventive treatment (IPTp) uptake and dwindling donor resources, as undermining efforts to tackle the disease.
The Programmes Manager was optimistic that the coming on board of the new malaria vaccine (MosquirixTM) would significantly improve strides made in controlling malaria in the country as the NMCP together with other stakeholders strategised to increase uptake of malaria control interventions at all levels.
“The NMCP together with the Ghana Health Service and the Ministry of Health will be working closely with the District Assemblies this year to undertake larviciding across the country to kill immature stages of mosquitoes,” she stated.
”We are also strategising to increase domestic resource mobilisation through organised institution engagement and improve adherence to protocols by continuous training and supportive supervision,” she added.
The Director of Public Health, Dr Badu Sarkodie in an address noted that malaria continued to be a high burden disease in the country despite significant strides made through numerous interventions.
Giving a global statistics, the Director disclosed that at least 200 million people suffer from malaria annually with a child dying from the disease every two minutes, a situation that not only affected human resource capacity but eroded economic gains.
In his view, “the time to step up commitment against this preventable disease is now especially as funding for malaria control activities continue to dwindle.”
He urged corporate entities and the media to support interventions in the area to protect lives and advance development.
Mr Henry Ampong, Head, Corporate Banking, Ecobank, main sponsors of this year’s WMD celebrations, called on Ghanaians to exhibit positive attitudes to reduce malaria prevalence.
He pledged the bank’s continuous support to the NMCP and urged other corporate entities to “join in the fight to collectively develop right mental attitudes through embracing innovative technologies to reduce malaria.”
The WMD, marked every April 25, is an occasion to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment to malaria prevention and control.
This year’s commemoration on the theme, “Zero malaria starts with me,” is to allow for individuals to personalise actions towards the prevention and reduction of malaria, mobilise additional resources for such cause while keeping the fight against the disease as a top priority on the country’s political agenda.
By Abigail Annoh