The World Malaria Day (WMD) was celebrated yesterday in Accra with a call on health stakeholders to scale up efforts in the fight against the disease to achieve zero malaria target by 2025.
Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye,
noted that malaria was destructive and retarding economic growth and development.
Addressing journalists at the WMD Commemoration 2021-Press Briefing, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, explained that the theme for the celebration, “Zero Malaria, draw the line against malaria”, expressed the need for the country to prioritise malaria and strengthen collaboration among all sectors to ensure nobody dies from the ailment.
He said malaria posed threat to the country’s educational system and other sectors and “any strategy put in place to reduce malaria disease and deaths, should be embraced and supported by all stakeholders.”
Dr Francis Kasolo, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative to Ghana, in a speech read on his behalf, noted that among the continents, Africa suffered heavily with malaria infection.
“In 2019, the region accounted for 94 per cent of both the 229 million malaria cases and 409,000 malaria deaths reported globally. In 2020 alone, 384,000 malaria deaths were reported from the African Region,” he said.
Dr Kasolo stated that significant progress had been made in the control of malaria in Africa.
He said “Overall, between 2000 and 2019, malaria incidence declined by 29per cent and deaths by 60 per cent translating into more than 1.2 billion cases and 7.1 million deaths averted in the Africa Region”.
Dr Kasolo lauded Ghana for its efforts in achieving the Global Technical Strategy for Malaria milestone of reducing malaria incidence and deaths by at least 40 per cent in 2020, and urged the country to do more to achieve the zero malaria target.
The National Malaria Control Programme Manager, Dr Keziah Malm, indicated that the country has made significant strides over the years in reducing malaria parasite prevalence by 50 per cent from 27.5per cent in 2011 to 14 per cent in 2019.
“Malaria death has also reduced by 90 per cent from 2799 in 2012 to 308 in 2020 with several interventions like the distribution of Insecticide Treated nets, indoor residual spraying, larval source management and malaria vaccination exercise,” she said.
Despite the intervention, Dr Malm said some people still did not see the need to support efforts in making malaria something of the past.
She called on journalists to support the campaign of zero malaria, by creating awareness on the need to sleep under treated nets and seek medical care when tested positive.
WMD is celebrated on April 25 every year.
BY JOYCELINE NATALLY CUDJOE