Ghana Health Service urges domestic resource mobilization to fund malaria

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has called on the media and private sector organizations to support a domestic resource mobilisation to fund malaria activities towards elimination.

It also called for further innovations particularly in vector control, social behavior change, and case management to better tackle the vector and drive uptake of interventions for malaria elimination in Ghana.

Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Director-General of the GHS, in a speech read on his behalf by Dr Franklyn Asiedu-Bekoe, the Director of Public Health, said this was a key step towards sustainable investment and ownership of malaria in Ghana.

The Director-General made the call at a press briefing as part of activities to commemorate the 2023 World Malaria Day celebration on the theme, “Time to Deliver Zero Malaria: Invest, Innovate, and Implement”.

The Day is commemorated annually on April 25 to highlight the progress made in the fight against the disease and the needed actions toward malaria elimination.

He said Ghana had achieved commendable successes in its fight against malaria and was grateful to the Government of Ghana, Global Fund, partners, and stakeholders for their support in achieving this.

Dr Kuma- Aboagye, speaking on the successes chalked in the fight against the disease over the years, said malaria prevalence had reduced from 27.5 per cent in 2011 to 8.6 per cent in 2022.

He said improved testing from 38 per cent in 2012 to 98 per cent in 2022, reduced deaths due to malaria by 95 per cent between 2012 to 2022 (2,799 deaths in 2012 to 151 in 2022).

“In recent months, several activities have been conducted to steer us in the direction of delivering zero malaria.

“The national programme has undergone a name change to reflect a shift to elimination efforts, National elimination strategic plan which further guides our interventions and investments in lowering the malaria burden countrywide is being finalised,” he added.

Dr Keziah Malm, the Programme Manager, National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), speaking on the progress and key performance in 2022, said the country had improved by reducing malaria mortality and infection rate.

She said the Malaria Strategic Plan 2021-2025 sought to reduce disease mortality by 90 per cent by 2025 using 2019 as a baseline, reduce malaria case incidence by 50 per cent by 2025, and achieve malaria pre-elimination in at least six districts by the same year.

However, a much more ambitious objective for Malaria Elimination Strategic Plan (NMESP) 2024-2028 had been set, which would further reduce malaria mortality by 100 per cent by 2028 using 2022 as a baseline, and also reduce malaria case incidence by 50 per cent within the same period and baseline, Dr Malm said.

The Programme Manager explained that under the NMESP new interventions such as chemopreventive, case management, surveillance, and leadership had been added to ensure the target of malaria elimination by 2028 was achieved.

She thus called for innovative behavioral change communication to encourage the use of insecticide-treated bednets, regular orientation, and training of prescribers, among others.

Dr Malm said malaria elimination in the country was feasible with adequate resources and called on the media to intensify sensitisation efforts to promote the proper use/uptake of malaria control interventions.

She advised the public to use proven interventions available to prevent malaria, adding that support from the private sector was important to address the funding gap.

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.

The severity of malaria varies based on the species of Plasmodium. The symptoms are chills, fever, and sweating, usually occurring a few weeks after being bitten.

Source: GNA

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