Mr. Emmanuel Fiagbey, Country Director, Johns Hopkins’ Voices Project, has called on Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to consider increasing their budgetary support for malaria control advocacy programmes from the current 0.5 per cent to about 2.0 per cent or more.
This, he noted, would enable health staff to roll out effective malaria control messages and programmes to educate the public on the prevention and treatment of malaria to create a malaria-free society.
Mr. Fiagbey made the call on Thursday during a special malaria control forum held at Nadowli in the Upper West Region.
The forum which was organised by Johns Hopkins University Centre for communications was attended by both public and private health staff including the District Health Directorate, Heads of decentralised Departments, Religious Leaders as well as Heads of Senior High Schools.
Mr. Fiagbey said the goal of the forum was to increase knowledge of the leadership at all levels in the district on the need for improved support for malaria programming.
This he noted would lead to the active involvement of all in the implementation of malaria control actions and the ultimate achievement of a malaria-free district.
On specific objectives of the forum, Mr. Fiagbey said it was to review and assess the Malaria control interventions which were being implemented in the district in order to increase its effectiveness.
It is also to identify key challenges to effective prevention and treatment of malaria in the district by creating the appropriate response and lastly to improve on the capacity of the District Health Committee to operate as a District Malaria Advocacy Team (DMAT).
The Country Director advised the DMAT to, among other things, promote the effective implementation of the national malaria control policies such as the drug policy, the Integrated Malaria Vector control policy and the malaria in pregnancy policy in the district.
Mr. Fiagbey recommended the use of the Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) for the prevention of malaria and the new malaria drug, Artemisin-based Combination Therapy (ACT) for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria.
Madam Florence Ansongmwini, Nadowli District Director of Health Services, said malaria was the leading cause of all diseases reported at health facilities in the district, saying malaria accounted for about 38 per cent deaths in the district.
She said last year about 30 people died from malaria in the district’s health facilities, out of which 17 were children under five years.
She said over the last three years, malaria cases recorded at the Out Patient Departments (OPD) had been on the increase but attributed it to a number of reasons such as effective education and increase in the membership of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) card bearers.
Madam Ansongwmini called for more education, effective collaboration between stakeholders and more capacity building for health staff and community volunteers.