Ghanian health expert applauds country's malaria control efforts

A Ghanaian health expert recently lauded his country's malarial control efforts, but cautioned that many people in need still lack critical access to its programs.

Professor Fred Binka, the dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Ghana - Legon, made the comments at a Partnership for Malaria Elimination meeting organized by the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health.

Binka said that Ghana had one of the best anti-malaria programs in Africa, but also said that the high cost of malarial drugs and the use of counterfeit drugs threaten progress.

Binka said that the 2011 World Malaria Report estimated that there were approximately 216 million cases of malaria in 2010, with 81 percent of those occurring in Africa. He also disclosed that estimates of the number of 2010 malaria-related deaths on the continent approached 655,000.

Binka asserted that effective malaria intervention, a substantial increase in funding, strong and effective partnerships, and focused research will be the key to the future success of global anti-malaria progress. He cited successes in Azerbaijan, Kyrgystan, Talikistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan as evidence that international cooperation makes a difference.

"This trend has no doubt energized the malaria community to take the fight on malaria and go for malaria elimination and eradication," Binka said.