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From The Independent (Accra) through Africa News - Original


DATELINE: 22 September 1999

HEADLINE:

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 sector.

Topics discussed include the historical and current perspective on Malaria Control in Ghana and the role of stakeholders and environmental management in Malaria Control.

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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