Health News

GHS to start long lasting Insecticide Nets distribution campaign in April

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) will begin preparation to start the distribution of Long-Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLINs) Distribution Campaign across the country in April.

Ghana’s National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) and its partners achieved universal coverage with long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLIN) through a nationwide door to door distribution and hang-up campaign from 2010 to 2012. In 2013, to maintain universal LLIN coverage, Ghana pioneered a mixed model of LLIN continuous distribution mechanisms using antenatal care, child welfare clinics, schools, shops and workplace programs.

Malaria is endemic throughout Ghana, putting the country’s entire population of almost 30 million at risk of malaria infection.

This is part of the Goal of the National Strategic Plan for Malaria Control, 2021 to 2025 which aims to reduce malaria morbidity by 50%, reduce malaria Mortality by 90% based on 2019 figures and to have at least 6 districts in pre-elimination phase. One of the objectives of the strategy is protect at least 80% of the population at risk with effective malaria prevention interventions by 2025.

This was made known by Mr. Christian Atta-Obeng of the Vector Control Unit of the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) during a virtual meeting with members of the Ghana Malaria Media Coalition.

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The coalition includes journalists from a broad range of media outlets (radio, T.V, print and online media) across the country. This group of committed media professionals are demonstrating the importance of the media in advocacy and communication campaigns and represents a bold step in the fight for a malaria-free Ghana.

According to Mr. Christian Atta-Obeng, Vector control is an essential strategic intervention for malaria control. Long Lasting Insecticidel Net (LLIN)is one of the vector control tools.

This year’s campaign is using the Point Mass Distribution (PMD) is a revised campaign strategy by which is a revised campaign strategy by the GHS and partners to get LLINs into households using the universal coverage principle (1 net for 2 persons in a household) conducted every three years.

The campaign will begin in April with the registration of households. The whole country is mapped up into five (5) clusters of regions. The registration exercise thus, starts on April 7, 2021 in cluster one made of the Upper East, Northern, North East and Savannah regions.

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According to Mr. Christian Atta-Obeng indicated that, the major challenges faced by the PMD campaign are low usage of LLINs and low patronage in urban areas.

In a related development, over 400, 000 individuals across the globe who died in 2020 as a result of malaria could have been saved, if some of the national health systems were more responsive. Individuals and communities could also have helped in saving lives if people had been more active in taking up the responsibility of ensuring timely health care at the health facilities, this is according to Dr. Kalu Akpaka, Regional Malaria Adviser for the African Region, World Health Organization (WHO).

This comes at a virtual media briefing for journalists across Africa. The briefing focused on the importance of ensuring care-seeking behaviour for febrile illnesses particularly during the COVID-19 period.

Dr. Kalu Akpaka, Regional Malaria Adviser for the African Region, World Health Organization (WHO) and Dr. Aboubacar Kampo, Director of Health Programmes at UNICE Fwere the main speaker for the briefing.

The meeting was hosted by RBM Partnership to End Malaria and the African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN).

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According to Dr Akpaka, the failure of national systems to deliver malaria services where and when people need them are worrying issues.

He noted that some people do not have access to test and treat malaria, while those who are able to get to the health facility sometimes are provided with inappropriate services such as not being tested before treatment for malaria.

He stressed the need for individual and community responsibility and urged people to improve on their health-seeking behavior by visiting health facilities to be tested for every febrile condition in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On his part, Dr. Aboubacar Kampo noted that the COVID-19 pandemic affected the health-seeking behaviours of people last year, especially those who were experiencing fevers.

Moderator of the meeting, Dr. Charity Binka who is Executive Secretary of AMMREN noted that the malaria community were very quick to respond to the demands brought on by the COVID -19 pandemic and they ensured that malaria services were not disrupted.