Mr Sidney Agoyomah Abilba, the Upper East Regional Focal Person for Malaria has called on the media to disseminate information on the need to use Long Lasting Insecticide Net (LLIN) as part of measures to reduce the prevalence of malaria in the Region.
The Region made progress in malaria control, as the proportion of suspected malaria treatment increased from 86.4 per cent in 2016 to 93.8 in 2017, while fatality rate for children under five declined consistently from 0.72 per cent in 2015 to 0.51 and 0.3 in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Mr Abilba however, said the figures could further decline if the media came on board to help spread the message on the effective and proper use of the LLIN to ensure a malaria free society.
He said even though there was data to show that the Upper East was one of the Regions with high availability and access to bed nets in the country, the usage was a challenge, “most of us have bed nets, but how many of us sleep under them, so it is important for the media to help us in this aspect.”
Mr Abilba made the call in Navrongo, at a media training workshop organised by the African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN) in partnership with the Navrongo Health Research Centre (NHRC) and the Ghana Health Service with sponsorship from Comic Relief UK and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
The event was held on the theme: “The role of the media in strengthening the quality of malaria care and surveillance in Ghanaian communities,” and brought together about 13 Journalists drawn from different media outfits within the Region to school them on malaria and its prevention.
He said the initial chemicals used on the Insecticide Treated Net (ITN) had a short life span of three months, but the current chemical used on the LLINs would last for three years, and said the ideal thing to do was to get the net that could contain the insecticide for a long time.
Mr Abilba indicated that the essence of the LLIN was not for people to just own it, but to use it to prevent mosquito bites, and said with the support of the media, education on its use would reach a greater population because it was one of the challenges facing the Public Health Unit in the Region.
The focal person said there were LLINs mass distributions extended to antenatal and measles 2 clients and schools.
The Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC), Malaria Case Management and Capacity Building Trainings were all part of malaria control interventions on-going in the Region, he said.
Mr Abilba who is also a Medical Entomologist, attributed challenges of malaria treatment to poor health seeking behaviour of parents for children under five years, high Intermittent Preventive Treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp), high dropout rate during treatment and poor LLIN use.
He said it was the Region’s priority to reduce malaria morbidity and mortality by improving Intermittent Preventive Treatment (IPT), Sulphadoxine-Pyrimethamine (SP) services for pregnant women, reduce human-malaria vector contact and under five-year malaria case fatality, improve malaria diagnosis and its case management, and also to audit all deaths attributed to the disease.