Gakpey: Ghanaians must team up to defeat malaria

Kwame Gakpey, the communications officer for the National Malaria Control Program at Ghana's Ministry of Health, said on Tuesday that Ghanaians must work together to prevent mosquitoes from spreading malaria in the hyper-endemic nation.

Gakpey discussed progress Ghana made last year in malaria case reductions on Tuesday in Accra. The Ministry of Health plans to sustain last year's gains through the distribution of mosquito nets to prenatal clinics, schools and child welfare clinics, the Ghana News Agency reports.

While the Ministry of Health will do all it can to keep Ghanaians safe from the deadly disease, Gakpey put the onus on the citizens themselves to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. He suggested citizens maintain clean surroundings and try to eliminate stagnant waters. This will serve as an all hands on deck approach to fighting malaria.

"Malaria is a killer but it is preventable, let's team up and drive malaria away," Gakpey said, according to the Ghana News Agency.

Gakpey recommended that health professionals in the country adhere to the ministry's test, treat and track program. He urged the use of the microscopic test or Rapid Diagnostic Test when it came to diagnosing patients. Gapkey said this was the only method that would paint a true picture of the number of malaria cases in Ghana.

Gakpey said the number of malaria cases in Ghana dropped from 3,259 in 2011 to 2,815 in 2012. The drop would have been more, he said, if it was not for over diagnoses, the Ghana News Agency reports.

"Not all fever symptoms are malaria cases," Gakpey said, according to the Ghana News Agency.