Mr Kwame D. Gakpey, Behavioural Change Communication Specialist of the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), observed at the weekend that it is about time the citizenry consider malaria “as a killer and not just a disease”.
“It is time we know that malaria is a life threatening disease that takes economic toll on the individual and the State and not just any disease and come together to drive the disease away,” he stressed.
Mr Gakpey made the observation at a day’s Malaria reporting training for journalists and media practitioners in Ho.
It was sponsored by Promoting Malaria Prevention and Treatment Ghana and aimed at equipping media personnel on technical issues involving the campaign against malaria.
Mr Gakpey said malaria remained the number one cause of morbidity in the country, hence the need for national seriousness to tackle it.
He said the disease accounted for about 32. 5 per cent of all out-patient illness, 35.9 per cent of admissions and 30.3 per cent of deaths in children under five.
Mr Gakpey therefore called on the media to help dispel misconceptions and perceptions on malaria to ensure its rapid eradication.
“Perceptions such as eating oily foods and working under the hot sun causes malaria must be issues of the past and pave way for facts and truths on the disease.”
Mr Gakpey said such perceptions are negatively affecting interventions like Long-Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets and the general campaign in response to the disease.
He announced that Global Fund is putting measures in place to make malaria drugs affordable and accessible to the populace and prayed that people take advantage of the intervention to save their lives.
Madam Rosemary Ardayfio, who moderated the editorial session on the role of the media in the campaign against malaria, said malaria eradication is technical and underscored the need for media personnel to be regularly equipped to educate and inform the public correctly.
During the plenary session, the media personnel suggested a close collaboration with the NMCP for effective campaign in response to the disease.