Ghana businesses lose GH¢20m to malaria in 2014 – Doctor

MalariaDr Kezier Malm, acting Programme Manager of the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), on Tuesday said economic cost of malaria to businesses in Ghana in 2014 alone was more than GH¢20 million.

Ninety per cent of the total cost was direct costs the remaining 10 percent was indirect cost due to absenteeism.

She said malaria was taking a heavy toll on Ghanaian businesses resulting in the lost of 30 working days for each employee annually.

Speaking at the launch of new a Behaviour Change Communications (BCC) campaign to encourage Ghanaian households to use Insecticide Treated Bed Nets, Dr Malm said Ghanaian businesses spent an average of 0.5 per cent of the annual corporate returns on the treatment of malaria on employees and their dependents, 0.3 per cent on malaria prevention, and 0.5% on other health-related corporate social responsibilities.

The new campaign is to build on the current awareness created and translate them into action to encourage every household in country to sleep under a bed net

The campaign was jointly organised by NMCP, Ghana Health Service and UNICEF.

Dr Malm explained that defeating malaria required the engagement of all sectors to help reduce the health and economic burden of the disease or else, “our development aspirations will not be realized”.

In 2014, 8.4 million cases of Out Patients Department cases (OPD) were recorded accounting for 30 per cent of all OPD cases, 27.9 per cent of admissions and 7.2 per cent of deaths.

Dr Malm urged corporate businesses to purchase malaria preventive commodities such as Insecticide Bed Nets for staff, support research, adopt a community and support it to improve malaria outcomes in that community and provide financial resources to support the NMCP scale up malaria interventions throughout the country.

The NMCP, she said, would provide technical assistance, facilitate the establishment of Workplace Programme, and help manage any fund that would be generated for malaria control in the country.

She noted that a household in Ghana on the average incurred a total cost of $14.00 per patient per incident and this she noted could go high as $22 if one does not visit the hospital or is admitted in a health facility.

Dr Malm explained that for school children, on the average, four clear school days were lost due to malaria, and called on all to join the fight against malaria by sleeping under an ITN to prevent it.

Mr Alex Segbefia, Minister of Health, called on all to support the national efforts and mobilize financial and human resources to make quality medicines and commodities available and affordable to all communities and individuals.

Source: GNA

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