This update has been prepared by Emmanuel Fiagbey of the Ghana VOICES office.
Under the sponsorship of the Ghana Voices for Malaria-free Future a group of journalists have come together to form a network to promote advocacy for Malaria control. Members of the network, the Ghana Media Malaria Advocacy Network (GMMAN) come from various print and electronic media houses including the Graphic Communications Group, Ghanaian Times, Weekly Spectator, Chronicle, and the Enquirer, Adom FM, Peace FM, Volta Star Radio, Jubilee FM, Kesben FM, Eastern FM, Radio Gold, and Radio Upper West, TV3, TV Africa Ltd, Metro TV and Ghana Television (GTV).
The Objectives of the Network are to:
- disseminate timely and appropriate information on malaria control efforts with the view to promoting the use of ITNs, motivating health professionals to administer approved medications for the management of malaria, and effectively informing the Ghanaian population of the need to uphold and practice effective prevention measures;
- monitor and accurately report on ongoing malaria control interventions within the context of educating the people of Ghana to maintain clear focus on making their communities malaria-free; and
- contribute to building and strengthening the capacity of all journalists in Ghana to report positively on malaria.
â€œIt is our hope that our efforts as media practitioners would help promote the course of malaria in the eyes of government, the donor community, the private sector and civil society in generating more resources and support for achieving a malaria â€“free Ghana. There are national, district and community voices against malaria but we want to assure the malaria program community that we of the media can be louder and highly positive voices against malaria,â€ Says Ms. Rosemary Ardayfio, Leader of GMMAN.
Since the inauguration of the GMMAN, the print media have become very buoyant with news reports and feature stories on various issues related to the fight against malaria in Ghana. Between April and May 2008 alone over 25 publications on malaria have appeared in the Daily Graphic, the Ghanaian Times and the Chronicle alone while community radio stations all over the country have been very active in organizing radio talk shows to educate the population on key malaria issues such as the use of ITNs and the efficacy and safety of the new malaria drug Artesunate and Amodiaquine Combination and IPT for pregnant women using Sulphadoxine Pyrimethamine.
The television stations have not been left out. Ghana Television, TV Africa, TV3 Ltd. and Metro TV have all increased program coverage on malaria. Thus the fight against malaria now receives great visibility in the eyes of the public and hopefully, these efforts by the media advocates will contribute to greater knowledge of prevention and treatment of malaria among the people of Ghana.
Examples of some of the malaria articles featured recently in the Ghana Chronicle are listed below.
- Eradicating Malaria And the Search for New Tools, 3 July 2008
- Malaria Constitutes 40 Percent, 30 June 2008
- Northern Health Services Declare War On Mosquitoes, 2 May 2008
- Intensify Fight Against Malaria, Ammren Tells African Leaders, 1 May 2008
- Alarming Rate of Malaria Cases in Asutifi District, 29 April 2008
- World Malaria Day – The Experts View Point, 25 April 2008
Hopefully other countries will take this experience as a cue to organize their own malaria media advocacy efforts.