The Birim Central Municipal Long Lasting Insecticide Nets Project has been launched at Akyem Batabi with a caution to people not to sell the nets or to use them as pillows.
Ms Ophelia Koomson, Birim Central Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), who launched the project said reports indicated that in the previous exercise where Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN) were distributed free of charge, many of the items were either not used by the beneficiaries or they sold them.
She said to prevent a reoccurrence a decision was taken to mount the nets in the bedrooms of users to encourage them to use them.
Ms Koomson indicated that the main objective of the “hang-up” exercise was to ensure that people slept in the insecticide nets to prevent mosquitoes from biting them.
She said reports from the Municipal Health Directorate indicated that from 2006 to October this year, 86,584 cases of children under five years were reported at the Out-Patient Department (OPD).
“Out of this number, 38,087 were malarial cases representing 43.99 per cent,” she said.
“Again, malaria accounted for 31.96 per cent of the 483,725 cases of children who were five years old and above at the OPD.
“In the case of pregnant women, 43,450 cases were reported at the OPD and malarial cases were 5,644 representing 12.99 per cent.”
Ms Koomson said 255 deaths were reported during the same period for children under five years and above, explaining that out of that number, 51.37 per cent were malaria-related deaths.
She said 1,320 deaths were recorded for children who were five years and above and that out of that number, 174 representing 13.18 percent were malaria cases.
Ms Koomson said it was evident from the statistics that malaria was causing a lot of havoc to the people in the Municipality and concerted efforts were needed to fight the menace.
She appealed to the people to cooperate with the volunteers who would be hanging the nets in their bedrooms and to make sure that they slept in the nets afterwards.
The MCE tasked the Environmental Health and Sanitation Unit to strictly ensure that a clean and hygienic environment was maintained by all to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes.
She thanked the USAID for the donation of the insecticide nets free of charge and also expressed gratitude to the Project Implementation Committee in the Municipality.
Dr Albert Antobre Boateng, Municipal Director of Health Services, noted that the Government spends huge amount of resources, which could have been spent on other development projects to improve the living conditions of the people, to control and treat malarial diseases.
He said the use of ITN was one of the most effective preventive measures to control and prevent malaria.
Dr Boateng said since 2004, the Ministry of Health and the National Malaria Control Programme had been distributing ITN to pregnant women and children under five years free of charge.
“Our Municipality has actively been involved in the training of health workers to speedily diagnose malaria using the Rapid Diagnostic Test Kits, effectively treat the disease, especially during pregnancy, and to ensure quality data reporting, and among others,” he said.