The Ga East Municipal Director of Health (MDH), Dr. Julius Dadebo, has advised women who are 16 weeks pregnant to visit the various health facilities and begin the Intermittent Preventive Treatment during pregnancy (IPTp) to help reduce the incidences of death and miscarriage. He was speaking at a durbar at Abokobi to mark this year’s World Malaria Day Celebration in the Ga East Municipality.
Malaria remains both a major cause and a consequence of global poverty and inequity and its burden is greatest in the least developed areas and among the poorest members of society.
According to the World Malaria Report 2016, there were 212 million new cases of malaria and 429,000 deaths in 2015.
Though there are other species of malaria parasites, the main parasite causing malaria in Ghana is plasmodium falciparium which is also the cause of complicated malaria.
One child dies from malaria every two minutes and women are four (4) times like to fall sick of malaria if they are pregnant and twice likely to die from the disease.
Though scary, malaria can be treated and prevented in many ways.
Artemisinin-based combination therapy remains the drug of choice for malaria case management.
Nationally, there have been numerous interventions and efforts towards the control of malaria in the country dating back pre and post independence with the most pronounced one being the “Roll Back Malaria” campaign in the late 90s, specifically, 1998.
These efforts, without doubt, have contributed immensely in reducing the incidence of malaria in the country though probably not to the anticipated level.
Funding for malaria prevention, management and related activities however remain a major bane of the fight against malaria.
It is not surprising that the theme for this year’s celebration is “End Malaria for Good, Invest in Malaria Prevention”.
The Anglican Diocesan Development and Relief Organization (ADDRO) teamed up with Municipal Health Directory to organize a durbar at Abokobi to mark the day in the Ga East Municipality where various stakeholders stressed the need for increased funding for malaria prevention and called on all to invest in this cause.
The Municipal Coordinating Director (MCD), Alhaji Shehu Awudu Kadiri, whose speech was read on his behalf by the Presiding Member (PM), Hon. Jesse Nii Noi Anum, recounted the numerous interventions put in place to fight malaria including the distribution of 85,619 Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Bed Nets (LLIN) to residents of the municipality in 2016 alone.
He said the Assembly will continue as far as it can to provide financial support to the Health Directorate to enable it continue with its efforts at combating malaria.
The MCD expressed appreciation for the support received from ADDRO in providing the LLIN for distribution last year and contribution by the Hope For Future Generation (HFFG) in the Assembly’s efforts in the prevention of malaria municipality.
He therefore appealed to other Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and benevolent organizations and individuals to come on board and support in the fight against malaria.
“Recently, the Assembly and the Health Directorate collaborated with the Hope For Future Generation (HFFG), a Non Governmental Organization (NGO), to form and set into operation the Municipal Malaria Advocacy Group (MMAG) which your good self chairs. Such initiative is highly commendable and we call on other NGOs in the municipality to emulate and join forces with us to fight the menace of malaria.”
Mrs. Dorothy Abudey, Focal Person for Malaria at the Greater Accra Regional Health Services, urged pregnant women to sleep in the Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Bed Nets (LLINs), undertake frequent check-ups to know their malaria status and sue the treatment modes available at the health facilities.
The Municipal Director of Health, Dr. Julius Dadebo, advised pregnant women to take advantage of the Intermittent Preventive Treatment during pregnancy (IPTp) programme and avoid possible death or miscarriage.
He said there was an improvement in the administration of the Sulphadoxine Pyrimethamine (SP) which is the medicine administered under the IPTp strategy for preventing malaria and the distribution and use of the LLINs in 2016 as compared with 2015.
He however was unhappy with the lack of documentation by some private health facilities in the municipality on the SP administration which according to him makes it difficult for the Health Directorate to get accurate data on it.
“We’ve realized that some of the women take the nets but they don’t sleep in. We have also discovered that the private health facilities don’t help us with documentation of the administration of the SP and this is a great worry to us. So we’re using this World Malaria Day celebration to appeal to them and we’re also talking to the pregnant women to access this strategy of preventing malaria”.
Mr. Atise Simon, Regional Coordinator for ADDRO, said his outfit was actively performing its role in the prevention of malaria.
He stated that ADDRO, in addition to the provision of LLINs to twelve Districts for distribution in the country, was currently leading in the post-distribution activities which include monthly sensitization of beneficiary households on malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia, quarterly follow-up on LLINs and data collection on condition and usage of the nets.
“The participation of the Church and for that matter ADDRO in human development is in response to its calling and mandate of Jesus Christ to “bring good news to the poor, to heal the broken hearted, and to set the captives free” so that they could have life and have it abundantly”, Mr. Atise said.
HFFG was represented by their Programmes Manager, Mrs. Gladys Tetteh-Yeboah and Miss Charity Adams.
Mrs Tetteh-Yeboah outlined some of the activities her outfit has embarked upon to help in the prevention of malaria and tasked the MMAG for Ga East to put in more effort.
The Malaria Focal Person for Ga East, Mr. Oscar Vetsi, spoke about the status of malaria in the municipality.
He stated that recorded cases of malaria in pregnancy in the municipality dropped from 40% in 2014 to 6.57 in 2016 and attributed this to the strenuous efforts by his outfit and partners.
Nii Anum Momlin II, Chief of Sesemi and Chairman for the Ga East MMAG, who chaired the function was happy about the celebration and used the occasion to appeal to pregnant women to use the LLINs and the SP in order to give birth safely and peacefully.
There was a drama on the prevention of malaria in pregnancy enacted by staff of the Health Promotion Unit and presentation a by the Family Planning Unit as well as free screening and testing for malaria.
By: Okunyin Boaz Orlan-Hackman
Pictures By: Sefa Darkey