A delegation led by the French Ambassador to Ghana Mr François Pujolas visited the Maamobi General Hospital where a medical research programme sponsored by France is being undertaken for the preventive treatment of malaria in pregnant women.
A statement issued by the French Embassy and copied to the Ghana News Agency said: “Ghana is one of the many countries benefitting from the ‘five per cent initiative’ that was launched by France at the end of 2011, as an indirect contribution to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria”.
“The five per cent initiative is a programme through which the French government dedicated an amount equivalent to five percent of its national contribution to the Global Fund to support grants that had been disbursed by the Fund,” it added.
It said the project at the Maamobi Hospital was therefore, only one of the fruits of this initiative which had contributed €268,000 for the implementation and evaluation of a preventive treatment of malaria in pregnant women.
It said in 2013, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended a modified sulfadoxine-based treatment and Ghana was one of the first countries in which this treatment was experimented.
The statement said the French Institute of Research and Development (IRD) thus proposed to work together with the Noguchi Institute of the University of Ghana and the School of Public Health, in order to evaluate the implementation of these new WHO recommendations on preventive chemotherapy against malaria during pregnancy.
It said a test campaign was underway at the Maamobi hospital and the visit of the Ambassador was therefore, symbolic of France’s continuous support towards the project.
The statement said the delegation was welcomed by the hospital authorities including the Medical Director, Dr Dorcas Anfu-Okine and the Head of Department, Dr Emmanuel Ameh, while the intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) programme was made by Professor Quakyi and Dr Nicaise Ndam, the Senior Research Officer at the IRD in Ghana, after which a presentation of the impact of the project on the Maamobi hospital was given by Dr Anfu-Okine.
The statement said representatives from the Ghana Health Service were also present to give their perspective of the project’s impact on malaria prevention in Ghana.
Mr François Pujolas in his speech touched on the relevance of the Global Fund, especially to Africa.
He brought to light the fact that the Global Fund had made treatment and prevention a reality for millions of people.
He said to date the Fund had disbursed over four billion dollars per year to over 100 countries.
“France contributed to its creation and still contributes €360 million representing 12 per cent of the multilateral fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria,” he said.
“France is the second contributor of that global fund to fight the three main diseases.
The Ambassador said: “In Africa and here in Ghana rates of HIV transmission have declined significantly in almost every region, including the hardest-hit countries.
“Mortality rates are also declining now that treatment is available. In fact, mortality due to tuberculosis has fallen by over a third since the 1990s,” it added.