Put efforts together to eliminate malaria in Ghana – Epidemiologist appeals


Professor Fred Newton Binka, an Epidemiologist, has suggested to government to rename the ‘National Malaria Control Programme’ as ‘National Malaria Intervention Programme’ with a strict mandate to eradicate malaria.

The Former Vice-Chancellor of University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) explained that ‘Control’ is a cycle without an end and had been used for far too long without yielding the desired results for elimination, hence the need for the change.

I believe once the country gets this right it would be able to achieve greater results in ensuring that malaria is completely eliminated, he added.
The Epidemiologist made this known at a symposium to commemorate 2022 World Malaria Day in Accra on the theme, “Harness Innovation to Reduce the Malaria Disease Burden and Save Lives”.

He said the country needed new tools in the pre-elimination to elimination stages of malaria to change the way things were done to achieve different results. “If we are bent on eliminating malaria then it is not going to be business as usual.” Prof Binka stated.

He noted that complete elimination of malaria had to do with adhering to the available interventions such as indoor residual spraying, sleeping under treated insecticide treated bed net, getting rid of stagnant water and choked gutters among others but more importantly information tracking.

Information tracking means that immediately the disease is found, testing must be done to ensure that the disease is not transmitted before one gets to the hospital, he added.

Prof Binka said Ghana needed to change its direction as a country by intervening and not to control, adding that most of the interventions should be targeted at elimination.

He stated that even though the country was currently doing well with the available interventions, more was needed to change the narrative towards zero elimination.

Prof Binka said achieving elimination would ensure that several of the Sustainable Development Goals, including reaching universal health coverage, promoting equity, and reduced poverty, as well as strengthen global health security would be assured.

He called for a high level and multi stakeholder engagement to ensure that malaria was high on the national agenda, strengthen existing surveillance systems in their transition to case-based entomological surveillance as core interventions. Synergise case-detection and management, disease control intervention across stratified zones with the country, he added.

Dr Keziah Malm, the Programme Manager, National Malaria Control Programme, commended Prof Binka for the lecture and advice.

She said the advice given by the Epidemiologist had energized them on the need to do more to ensure zero malaria.

We have noted some of things we need to do and I assure you that we will engage with the private sector as well as the teaching hospitals to ensure elimination, Dr Malm stated.

Speaking on the name change, she assured that discussion with the appropriate authorities would be held to know the way forward.

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