Environmental hygiene a key factor for malaria prevention – Medical Officer

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A nurse administering a malaria vaccine to a child to mark the beginning of the expanded immunization programme
A nurse administering a malaria vaccine to a child to mark the beginning of the expanded immunization programme

Dr. Mrs. Dorothy Hanson, Medical Officer of the International Maritime Hospital, has stated that mosquitoes can be managed by practising proper environmental cleanliness.

She said effective environmental hygiene or management, such as draining stagnant streams, weeding the surroundings, desilting clogged gutters, and many other things, could help avoid malaria outbreaks.

According to the IMaH Medical Officer, maintaining a good environment prevented mosquitoes from multiplying in that specific place, even though some benefits of increasing sanitation extend beyond malaria risk reduction.

Dr. Mrs. Hanson stated this in the weekly “Your Health! Our Collective Responsibility,” a Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office initiative aimed at promoting health-related communication and providing a platform for health information dissemination to influence personal health choices through improved health literacy.

The Ghana News Agency’s Tema Regional Office developed the public health advocacy platform “Your Health! Our Collective Responsibility” to investigate the elements of four health communication approaches: informing, instructing, persuading, and urging.

Dr. Mrs. Hanson stated that applying mosquito repellent to exposed parts of the body could reduce the risk of contracting malaria and the use of mosquito coils in the room was also a beneficial practice for mosquito bite prevention.

All these practices can result in the community having zero mosquitoes, she continued.

Despite this, the medical officer said testing and earlier diagnosis of malaria in the blood were also crucial factors in reducing malaria outbreaks.

“Thus, when a mosquito bites a person, the plasmodium is transmitted into the blood as a normal microorganism that is allowed to mature in the liver for a few days. Symptoms begin to appear in the body after going through phases.”

Dr. Mrs. Hanson added that the more mosquito bites a person received, the higher the risk of acquiring malaria.

According to the World Health Organisation, plasmodium can be found in the body for 10 to 15 days (about 2 weeks) before symptoms appear.

“Some people have strong enough immune systems to withstand the symptoms that have developed in the body; thus, they learn they have malaria after going through laboratory tests to confirm it, despite coming to the facility with a different health condition,” she explained.

Dr. Mrs. Hanson said the rainy season had begun, so everyone needed to get rid of every mosquito breeding site while keeping surroundings clean to preserve a healthy lifestyle for optimum productivity.

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