Update provided by VOICES country representative for Ghana, Emmanuel Fiagbey.
The recent challenge thrown by Bill and Melinda Gates to the malaria community to work towards eradicating malaria has moved malaria advocates and program managers in Ghana to start examining the status of the countryâ€™s fight against malaria along the continuum of Control, Elimination and Eradication strategies.
The Ghana Voices for Malaria-Free Future project provided the forum. It brought together 45 malaria advocates including the leadership of the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP), the Ghana Media Malaria Advocacy Network, District Directors of Health, Malaria Scientists and Researchers, Disease Control Officers of the Ghana Health Service, NGOs and National Voices against Malaria. University of Ghana Professor Issabella Quakyi, NMCP Manager Dr. Constance Bart-Plange, and RBM Coordinating Committee Chairman Prof. David Ofori Adjei were the discussants
The forum concluded that:
- The complex life cycle of the plasmodium species makes the disease very difficult to beat.
- Significant challenges remain including drug resistance, insecticide resistance, and continuing environmental degradation. leading to increasing transmission and finally absence of an effective vaccine.
- Ghana is steadily progressing through the Control phase with the hope of reaching the Elimination phase in the next few years.
Tasks for Achieving Eradication
- Sustaining the gains so far made
- Enforcement of malaria policies and recommended practices Intensified attitudinal change among health workers, the private sector, community members and all other stakeholders
- Better monitoring of ITN utilization
- Enhanced public/private sector collaboration on drug policy implementation.
- Improved diagnosis of the disease using appropriate tools
- Adoption of integrated approaches to malaria
- Generation of local resources to support malaria control efforts
- Strengthened of NGO participation in malaria control programs
According to Prof. David Ofori Adjei, â€œThe renewed global call for malaria eradication demands greater political will and involvement of all stakeholders. Malaria eradication is possible when we protect ourselves from getting the parasite and adopt new tools for effective management of the disease.â€