Malaria deaths reduces in Ghana since 2017

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Politics Malaria Reduction
Politics Malaria Reduction

Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, the Volta Regional Minister, has described the reduction in number of malaria deaths in the country from 599 in 2017 to 275 in the first quarter of 2022 as a remarkable progress.

He said the success was because of the number of malaria prevention and control programmes by the Ghana Health Service through the National Malaria Control Programme such as mass distribution of Long-Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) and Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS).

Dr Letsa, speaking during the 2022 World Malaria Day, commemorated in Hohoe, said there could be significant reduction in number of malaria cases and deaths if the interventions and programmes were complemented by favourable uptake by the entire population.

From 2017 to 2022, he said close to 1,000 families had been spared the agony of losing a loved one who would bring hope to them and money to be spent on hospital bills could be channeled through other development projects .

Dr Letsa said data at hand revealed that the Volta and Western regions constituted the two highest burden regions in Ghana, accounting for almost 50 per cent of the proportion of malaria cases in the population at any point in time.

“Although progress is being made, we have to accelerate our efforts to match up with the entire country. Malaria, like most other disease, inflicts upon us a double agony of sickness and poverty,” he said.

Monthly clean-ups to rid communities of reasonably preventable conditions, which allowed for the breeding of mosquitoes, enforcing sanitation bye-laws by assemblies to stimulate the right sanitary practices and the Government partnering Zoomlion Ghana and some waste management companies to produce and distribute free waste bins to homes are some socio-economic factors to reduce the burden of malaria.

To avoid malaria complications, Dr Letsa urged the citizens to keep their environments clean, sleep under insecticide treated bed nets, pregnant women must take their malaria preventive medicines and for all to seek medical attention early, and get tested and treated for malaria.

Dr Felicia Owusu, on behalf of Dr Francis Kasolo, the WHO Representative, said the past year had seen significant breakthroughs in malaria prevention and control in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said malaria still remained a significant public health and development challenge adding that in the last year, about 95 per cent of the estimated 228 million cases occurred in the WHO/AFRO Region, along with 602,020 reported deaths.

Dr Kasolo said six countries, the worst-impacted by malaria in the Region, were reported to have accounted for up to 55 per cent of cases globally and for 50 per cent of the deaths.

Despite some slowing of progress to reduce malaria cases and deaths and the disruptions to health services caused by COVID-19, they were still much further ahead than in 2000, adding: “We need to reignite that momentum and build on the recent advances.”

Dr Kasolo said the malaria vaccine was an additional prevention tool  among children aged six months to five years, who lived in moderate- to high-transmission settings.

He called on the Government and communities to work closely with development partners to advance the countries along the road to elimination, while contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Dr Keziah Malm, the Programme Manager, National Malaria Control Programme, said in building resilience, Ghana must ensure that investments in malaria control interventions were increased and the advanced and newly proven interventions were scaled up to optimal levels.

She said there was currently a gap of about 412 million dollars for the country to fully implement the current strategic plan and urged  all Ghanaians to actively engage in the fight against malaria by using all available interventions to protect themselves and loved ones.

She called for stakeholder support to make progress in the fight against malaria since  “the journey to elimination is still far off.”

The event was on the theme: “Advance Equity. Build Resilience. End Malaria.”

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