Ghana will soon host a biolarvicide production factory that aims producing substances that targets to destroy the larvae of a mosquito, as part of efforts by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to eradicate malaria from the sub-region by 2015.
A biolarvicide is a kind of insecticide that kills the mosquito larvae – newly hatched mosquitoes.
Dr Daniel Eklu, Director in charge of Humanitarian and Social Affairs at ECOWAS, reading a speech on behalf of Mr James Victor Gbeho, President of ECOWAS announced that a tripartite agreement had been signed between Cuba, Venezuela and ECOWAS to construct three biolarvicide production factories in the region.
He made this known at the opening of a three-day workshop organized by ECOWAS on the Malaria Vector Control in the sub-region at Contonou, Benin.
The conference brought together participants of diverse backgrounds from Ghana, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Burkina Faso, The Gambia and some officials from Kenya as well as a representative from Cuba.
Dr Eklu said under the agreement, Cuba would provide technological assistance by transferring their technologies and experience while Venezuela provides the financial support.
Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire will also benefit from the project.
Using statistics from the Roll Back Malaria programme, he said, the disease accounted for 40 per cent of public health expenditure and 25 per cent of household health expenditure.
Dr Eklu said ECOWAS would also set up a special fund to promote strategic health products like biolarvicides to back the organization’s commitment to help eradicate malaria in the sub-region.
Professor Daniel Adjei Boakye, Research Entomologist at the Nougochi Research Centre, University of Ghana, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that the promotion of larvicides was a good initiative but added that that alone could not help eradicate malaria.
He said the larvicide promotion must be combined with existing malaria control programmes to ensure a successful eradication of the disease.
Prof. Boakye explained that there was a need for a holistic educational and awareness creation campaign about the disease and its mode of transmission, explaining that the anopheles mosquitoes, the ones that causes malaria, for instance breeds in small pockets of water which is not polluted.
“The Anopheles mosquitoes for instance can breed at the small portion of the water dispenser where the cup is placed to fetch water,” he explained.
Prof. Boakye said there was the need for clear guidance on how to use the larvicides or biolarvicides to help achieve the expected results.
Dr Mariane Ngoulla, Health Adviser to ECOWAS, said the meeting was expected to propose key strategies for advocacy, behaviourial change and social mobilization.
She said Venezuela had pledged an initial commitment of $20 million and stressed the need for collaboration between the member states, urging the various communities within the sub-region to be involved in the process and help to ensure an ECOWAS without malaria.