From The Independent (Accra) through Africa News - Original
DATELINE: 22 September 1999
Malaria Dominates OPD Cases
BYLINE: By Henrietta Blankson
Accra - Malaria is being recognised as the single most important cause of death
in the country. It accounts for over 40 per cent of all out-patient cases in
hospitals and other health institutions and about 25 per cent of under-five
mortality in Ghana.
However, attempts in finding an effective control to the malaria menace in Ghana
have not achieved the desired effect.
This was the major concern raised by participants at a day's national seminar
held in Accra recently on Environmental Management for Malaria Control.
The seminar, organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the
Ministry of Health brought together environmentalists and experts in the health
Topics discussed include the historical and current perspective on Malaria
Control in Ghana and the role of stakeholders and environmental management in
The Deputy Minister of Health, Mr. Moses Adiboo, who opened the seminar
called for an effective multi-sectoral partnership to promote environmental hygiene
in order to check the impact of Malaria.
He called for the sensitization of the political leadership and functionaries,
particularly at the regional and district levels, to start movements aimed at
achieving prevention and control of the disease.
"All sectors need to work together to help reduce the economic and social
impact of Malaria on our vulnerable groups especially the urban poor
communities," he added.
The Minister noted that the devastating effect of Malaria on pregnant women and
children and its immeasurable potential of frustrating the efforts in the nation,
make the focus on Malaria and the environment highly commendable.
Giving an overview on the historical and current perspective of Malaria Control in
Ghana, the Director of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research of
the University of Ghana, Professor Ofori-Adjei, attributed the ineffective means of
controlling Malaria to an inadequate health system, poverty and lack of sound
policies and technical guidelines.
He added that the biggest challenge to control efforts apart from the economic
and social problems was the development of resistance to anti-malaria vaccines
by the mosquitoes. Webmaster's Note: This is an error. Parasite resistance to drugs or mosquito resistance to insecticides is probably what is meant.
Prof. Ofori-Adjei stressed the need to develop Malaria Control as an integral part
of health and social development.
The Deputy Director of Environmental Protection Agency, Mr. John A. Pwamang,
disclosed that research is currently under way to develop and test a Malaria
vaccine, adding "it is likely to be many years before a cheap and effective
vaccine is widely available."
He noted that the mosquito control programme may have adverse effects on the
environment and suggested that a risk assessment be conducted to determine
control measures that are effective, efficient and produce minimal adverse effects
on the environment and public health.
Participants called for assessment of the general scope of environmental health
activities in terms of mosquito and other disease vector control.
OPD = Out-Patient Department
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