Malaria still leading cause of infant and maternal mortality in Ghana – NGO

MalariaMalaria is still the highest cause of infant and maternal deaths and illness despite the various interventions by Government and development partners to help control it.

Mr Abdul-Razak Issah, the Regional Coordinator of the Institute of Social Research and Development (ISRAD)- Ghana, said this at the launch of a new project dubbed: “Advocacy for Resource for Malaria stoppage (ARMS) Initiative Project”, at a stakeholder forum held in Bolgatanga.

He said the control of malaria still remains a serious public health challenge in Ghana and financial constraints coupled with donor fatigue had compounded the problem.

He called on all local partners to contribute more resources to help tackle the problem.

“Funding trends by the public sector and donor partners are discouraging, leaving an annual gap of an estimated $2.6 billion dollars for malaria prevention from 2011 to 2020.  This, therefore, calls for a holistic approach and more financial support to fight this disease”, he said.

The Regional Coordinator expressed  worry about  the failure of the Municipal and District Assemblies(MDAs)  to release the 0.5 per cent of the District responsive Initiative which states that “ One half per cent of the fund should be utilized to support the district response initiative for the prevention of Malaria’.

ISRAD with funding from the UKAID was implementing  a project  dubbed ”Advocacy for Resource for Malaria stoppage (ARMS) Initiative” to press home the need for MDAs to release the percentage  of the malaria funds to the Ghana Health Service.

The project would cover the Bolgatanga Municipal, Bongo, Nabdam and Talensi, Kassena-Nakana West and Kassena-Nankana Municipal and ten communities per each district would benefit from it, he said.

It would collaborate with the National Malaria Control Programme of the GHS to help address some of the challenges  by forming  District Malaria Advocacy Groups (DMAG) and Community Malaria Ambassadors to help  galvanize more community support for malaria activities.

This would be done through citizen engagement at district and community levels, improve domestic resource mobilization for malaria activities, advocate for judicious use of existing malaria resources at the community level and ensure transparency and accountability at the community level.

Mr Stephen Bordotsiah, the Upper East Regional focal person on malaria, said the Region has a high record of malaria prevalence among children and pregnant women.

The stakeholders at the forum included traditional and religious leaders, civil society organizations, the media, GHS and the Ghana Red Cross.

Source: GNA

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