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Central Region records no malaria deaths in pregnant women

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The Central Region has not recorded any fatality due to malaria in pregnant women for the past three years, Nana Owusu Boampong, Regional Health Administrator made this known in Cape Coast on Tuesday.

He said the Region recorded the success story as a result of good management of malaria cases in the local health facilities.

Nana Owusu Boampong was speaking at the Regional launch of Affordable Medicines Facility for Malaria and long lasting insecticide treated nets (LLITNS) distribution and hang up campaign.

The Health Administrator who gave an overview of Malaria cases in the Region, said last year alone 35,704 pregnant women were given intermittent preventive treatment, while 33,016 were treated in 2009 representing a 9.1 per cent coverage.

He said there was also a downward trend in the half year fatality rate cases among children from 2.8 per cent in 2010 to 1.8 per cent this year of the total malaria cases, while children above five categories also dropped from 3.9 per cent last year to 2.5 per cent this year.

The case fatality rate for those under five remained at 1.9 per cent.

The Administrator said a total of two million patients had been managed with the Artemisinin based combination therapy (ATCs )within the past six years while from 2003 to 2011 a total of 451, 503 insecticide treated nets had been distributed to pregnant women and children under five.

He said the current half year figures indicate that a total in-patient admission due to malaria stands at 13.781 representing 31 per cent of all admissions as against 10,769 representing 20 per cent of all admissions last year.

Nana Boampong said in the first half of last year a total malaria death of 305 representing 20 per cent of fatalities in the Region was recorded but this reduced to 254 representing 17.7 per cent this year.

He said there was a slight increase in less than five deaths from 89, representing 28 per cent of all under five deaths in 2010 to 95 this year.

The Regional Director of Health Services; Dr Samuel Kwashie,   called on the public to disabuse their minds  that Artemisinim-based combination therapies (ATCs)were in inferior and of low quality drugs.

He said although ATCs cost 10 to 20 times more than the older and largely ineffective drugs such as chloroquine and fansider the World Health Organisation pre-qualified and heavily subsidised and therefore not inferior to the expensive ATCs on the market.

Dr Kwashie said the affordable medicines facility for malaria package aims at enabling countries to increase the provision of affordable ATCS through the public, private and NGO collaboration.

This, he said, would save lives and reduce the use of less-effective treatments to which malaria parasites are becoming increasingly resistant.

He pointed out that the fight against malaria was not about fever, headache and general bodily pains but also about anaemia, convulsions, shock, premature labour miscarriages , kidney failure , coma and death and urged the public to drop the conception of the disease  being an “ordinary malaria”  causing only minor discomforts  and tackle it with all the seriousness it deserves.

He said the fight against mosquitoes was not only about malaria but also about debilitating or deadly diseases including elephantiasis and yellow fever since mosquitoes were the transmitters of these diseases.

On the campaign of LLITINS hang up campaign, he said more than one million free LLIN have been delivered to the Region for the exercise.

He said currently household registration and data compilation are on-going in all the 17 districts in the Region while the actual free door-to-door distribution and hang exercise would be carried out next month.

The Regional Minister; Mrs Ama Benyiwa- Doe,  in a speech read on her behalf expressed concern that malaria still remained the major  health issue in most health facilities.

She said about 31 per cent admission cases at the hospitals were malaria cases which is affecting the social-economic status of the country.

Mrs Benyiwa- Doe tasked health officials to intensify the education on the use of treated insecticide nets by shifting their attention from pregnant women and children under five to the public.

Osabarimba Kwesi Atta II Omanhen of Oguaa, who presided, commended global fund, UNICEF and other partners for supporting the roll back malaria programme.

Source: GNA

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