Ghana unveils 5-year anti-malaria strategy
The National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) has laid out a five-year national strategic plan to help scale up malaria control and prevention in the country.
Strategies for the plan, which begins this year, comprise larvae source management, distribution of insecticide treated nets (ITN), mass campaign, as well as case management in all districts in the country.
That is to help reduce malaria mortality by 90 per cent, reduce malaria case incidence by 50 per cent, and achieve malaria per-elimination in at least six districts in the country by 2025.
This was disclosed by the Programme Manager of the NMCP, Dr Keziah Malm, in Accra yesterday at a press briefing on the 2021 World Malaria Day.
The briefing was to highlight the status of the malaria control programme implementation.
Dr Malm said the plan was expected to reduce prevalence to a maximum 10 per cent in at least 100 districts.
She said with a high coverage, the strategic plan was predicted to lead to 175 districts with prevalence below 10 per cent.
“Ghana is on track; it is possible to make impact and move the country into elimination. We all have to come on board, both public and private, because it affects us all,” Dr Malm said.
The Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, also expressed appreciation to partners for their contributions in support of the deployment of malaria strategies across the country.
He said it was imperative that any strategy to reduce it was embraced and supported by the entire society.
The Chief Finance Officer of Ecobank Ghana, Dr Edward Botchway, said the bank was keen on impacting positively on the health of people living in communities it operated.
In that regard, he said, the bank was proud to partner the NMCP to lead the fight towards the elimination of malaria in the country.
He said the economic impact of malaria in Africa was estimated to be $13 billion each year.
The figure, he explained, factored in cost of health care, absenteeism, days lost in education, decreased productivity due to brain damage from cerebral malaria and loss of investment.
In Ghana, Dr Botchway said, malaria elimination was predicted to cost $961 million between 2020 and 2029.
Compared to the baseline, he said, elimination was estimated to prevent 85.5 million cases, save 4,468 lives and avert $2.2 billion in health system expenditures.
For that reason, he said, eliminating malaria would increase prosperity across Africa over the long term, fostering a healthier workforce, spurring economic growth and reducing the cost burden associated with malaria.
Progress in Africa
A Health System Specialist from the World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Office in Ghana, Dr Sofonias Gatachew Asrat, observed that the African Region still accounted for the greatest burden of malaria.
Particularly in 2019, he said, the region accounted for 94 per cent of both the 229 million malaria cases and 409,000 malaria deaths reported globally.
Despite the numbers, Dr Asrat said a significant progress had been made in the control of the disease in the continent.
“I am happy to note that overall, between 2000 and 2019, malaria incidence declined by 29 per cent and deaths by 60 per cent, translating into more than 1.2 billion cases and 7.1 million deaths averted in the African region,” he stated.