UNICEF, UK give 1.35 million insecticide nets to Ghana Health Service

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) in the Western Region on Wednesday received 1.35 million long lasting insecticide nets (LLINs) from the UK government and UN Children’s Fund.

These bed nets, along with one million handed over to GHS in the Central Region, were expected to reach over 4.7 million people including 940,000 children under the age of five, a statement issued by UNICEF said.

Ms Sally Taylor, the UK Department for International Development’s (DFID) Country Director for Ghana, said; “The UK government is committed to supporting the Government of Ghana in its fight against malaria which takes the lives of so many children below the age of five”.

DFID, UNICEF and the Ghana Health Service are partnering to ensure that Ghana’s target of reducing the burden of malaria by 75 per cent by 2015 is achieved.

The statement said UNICEF, using funds from DFID, had purchased 2.35 million bed nets, which will be distributed by the Ghana Health Service to beneficiaries in July.

Over 800,000 families in the Western and Central regions will benefit from the supply of these nets.

Malaria remains the main cause of mortality and morbidity of children under five in Ghana.

It accounted for 22 per cent of under-five deaths and nine of maternal deaths in 2007.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) estimates that out of the three million cases of suspected malaria reported each year in public health facilities, over 900,000 are children under the age of five.

It is expected that the most deprived families will receive a bed net, as they are distributed free of charge.

Dr Iyabode Olusanmi, UNICEF Representative for Ghana, said; “It is frustrating that children continue to die from preventable and treatable diseases such as malaria when bed nets have been shown to be effective in preventing malaria.

“We must make every effort to reach the most deprived in the remotest corners of the region.”

The significance of these nets is clear, according to Dr Constance Bart-Plange, Head of the National Malaria Programme, who explained that, “through the innovative ‘hang-up’ campaign, more and more people are sleeping in the LLIN’s. This, no doubt, will lead to drastic reduction in malaria illnesses. Thus, more than 20,000 children in Ghana will be saved over the three-year lifespan of the bed nets.”

Source: GNA

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