MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

Malaria rate drops in Ghana

Malaria rates are dropping in Ghana because of the free distribution of long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets, according to a Ministry of Health official.

Kwame Gakpey, the communications officer of the National Malaria Control Program of the Ministry of Health, said on Tuesday that overall in-patient deaths from malaria dropped from 3,259 in 2011 to 2,815 last year, Ghana News Agency reports.

"Malaria deaths among children under five years for the same periods were 1,539 for 2011 and 1,129 for 2012, whereas death among pregnant women due to malaria was 918 for 2011 and 476 for 2012," Gakpey said, according to the Ghana News Agency.

Gakpey attributed the decline to the successful distribution of the insecticide-treated nets. Last year, Ghana distributed the nets to 12 million people, representing a coverage of 24 million people overall.

According to a study conducted by the University of Ghana, households with the nets rose from 38 percent in 2008 to 86 percent in 2012.

Gakpey said the ministry would make sure all gains would be sustained in 2013 and beyond. He emphasized the need to stick to the policy of test, treat and track.

Gakpey praised the Global Fund, World Bank, U.S. President's Malaria Initiative and other donors for funding the free distribution of insecticide-treated nets, Ghana News Agency reports.

"The month of April is the International Month for Malaria and April 25 will be World Malaria Day which has the theme: Invest in the future, defeat malaria," Gakpey said, according to the Ghana News Agency. "Malaria is a killer but it is preventable, let's team up and drive malaria away."