Dr Keziah Malm, the Programme Manager, National Malaria Control Programme, says malaria tops in disease expenditure under the National Health Insurance Scheme.
She says the disease also reduces the Ghanaian GDP by 0.25 to as high as six percent adding that malaria was still the number one cause of outpatient attendance in health facilities and affected millions of people.
Dr Malm speaking at the commemoration of the 2022 World Malaria Day in Hohoe on the theme: “Advance Equity. Build Resilience. End Malaria,” said malaria though preventable, was a deadly disease caused by the Plasmodium parasite transmitted through the bite of an infective female Anopheles mosquito.
She said there are an estimated 241 million cases of malaria worldwide with 627,000 deaths in 2020 and added that children aged below five years were the most vulnerable group and contribute to approximately 77 percent of all malaria deaths worldwide.
“Unfortunately, the African region continues to carry the highest proportion of the global malaria burden accounting for 96 percent of all malaria deaths.”
Dr Malm said the current National Malaria Strategic Plan (NSP) which spanned 2021 to 2025 had three main goals aimed at reducing malaria mortality by 90 percent, reduce malaria case incidence by 50 percent and to achieve malaria pre-elimination in at least six districts by 2025 using as baseline.
She said the Ghana Health Service (GHS) had a number of proven interventions to reduce malaria including distribution of Long-Lasting Insecticide-treated Nets and Intermittent Preventive Treatment (IPTP) for pregnant women across the country, Indoor residual Spraying, Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention and Larval Source management in some selected districts in the country.
Dr Senanu Kwesi Djokoto, Deputy Volta Regional Director of Health Services, in-charge of Public Health, on behalf of the Regional Director, said the Directorate recognised itself as a part of the Regional Coordinating Council’s all-of-government and all-of-society approach toward the achievement of the national health policy goals.
He said the multi-disciplinary methods used at all levels emphasize the essence of close collaboration and the intimate involvement of their partners and stakeholders had help to translate the commitment to end malaria into actions and to open themselves up for social accountability.
Dr Djokoto said the Region was currently a beneficiary of five out of the seven National Malaria Control Program recommended interventions and as a result, “we have also made a lot of progress in the fight against malaria.
“Notably, a total of 1,084,488 pieces of nets were distributed to 436,103 households late last year. The Regional Health Directorate with support of Zoomlion has commenced larviciding in six districts with a total of 1,842 areas mapped and sprayed successfully.”
Mr Alexander Gabby Hottordze, Member of Parliamentary Committee on Health, reiterated the need for communities to ensure maximum sanitation.
Oheneyere Gifty Danso Anti, National Malaria Advocate, called for a non-partisan and integrated approach in fighting malaria while calling on the government, traditional and religious leaders, parliament, and CSOs to come on board and increase their commitment to do away with malaria by 2030.
She said zero malaria was achievable through fighting malaria with commitment and determination, adding that the most valuable tool in achieving any aim was to first believe that it was doable.
Togbe Tepre Hodo IV, President, Volta Regional House of Chiefs, entreated the citizenry to collaborate with the government to find permanent and lasting solutions to malaria.