HFFG PARTNERS OTHER AGENCIES TO WAGE WAR AGAINST MALARIA.
In Ghana, the country recorded 4,940, 270 suspected cases of malaria in the first half of year 2016. Thus on the average, approximately 26,922 suspected cases of malaria were recorded daily in the country’s health facilities during the period.
According to the 2015 World Malaria Report, there were 214 million cases of malaria recorded globally in that year.
The report states that malaria cases, (uncertainty range 149–303 million) and malaria deaths (range 236,000–635 000), represents a decrease of 37% cases and 60% deaths respectively, since 2000.
More so report indicated that the burden was heaviest in the WHO African Region, where an estimated 90% of all malaria deaths occurred and in children under 5 years of age, which accounted for more than two thirds of all deaths.
There has been a significant reduction between 2015 and 2016 figures of 685 and 385 as per the WHO reports.
Even though, suspected malaria cases increased by 6.9% as compared with the previous year, admission and deaths attributed to malaria however decreased by 6.3% and 24.6% respectively. Malaria under five case fatality rate also dropped from 0.44 in the first half of 2015 to 0.35 at the end of the semester in 2016.
Hope for Future Generations (HFFG) has over the years worked closely with the Ghana Health Service and other partners with support from DFID/ UKAID in reducing the malaria burden in Ghana. HFFG embarked on a number of projects in a bid to contribute to the country’s efforts to reduce malaria drastically.
The organization used Social and Behavioral Change Communication (SBCC) as a strategy in its malaria prevention programming and implemented projects to this effect between 2014 and 2016.
According to the WHO, although considerable progress has been made in the fight against malaria, the burden of the disease is still very high, especially in Africa, with the region accounting for 80% of the global malaria cases in 2015. Considering the economic impact of the disease on Africa which is estimated to cost $12 billion every year, there is the need for further efforts to reduce this preventable disease to the very minimum.(WHO 2015 world Malaria Report; Gallup JL, Sachs JD, 2001. The economic burden of malaria. AJTMH 64 (Suppl 1–2): 85–96.)
In Ghana, malaria is still endemic in all 10 regions of the country.
However, there is a financial constraints now, and in the foreseeable future, serve as the greatest threat to maintaining malaria prevention.
Funding trends by the public sector and donors are discouraging, leaving an annual funding gap of an estimated $2.6 billion dollars for malaria prevention from 2011 to 2020. (Solomon LD (2015). Alleviating Global Poverty )
Clearly, the need for advocacy to enhance domestic funding for malaria is a categorical imperative.
In response to the dwindling donor funding for malaria control activities in Ghana, there is lack of compliance in testing all suspected malaria cases for confirmation before treatment in spite of the increased supply of RDTs and capacity building of health care providers, coupled with the low utilization of LLINs by households despite the high availability of bed nets in households which came about as a result of the numerous mass distribution exercises throughout the country,
HFFG is leading a consortium of three Ghanaian NGOs (Hope for Future Generations, Institute of Social Research and Development and Youth Development, Research and Innovation Centre) to embark on a nationwide advocacy campaign towards mobilizing domestic resources for malaria control activities in Ghana.
The Consortium as part of this project, is implementing Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) interventions aimed at changing the attitudes and behaviors of both health care service providers and health seekers towards testing all suspected malaria cases before treatment and to promote utilization of LLINs by all households in Ghana.
It is against this background that the HFFG/UKAID project: Advocacy for Resources for Malaria Stoppage (ARMS) initiative, is focused on advocating for increasing local government funding for malaria activities in the reduction of malaria cases.
The advocacy for resources for malaria stoppage (ARMS) is using modern and evidence-based advocacy and BCC strategies to mobilize local stakeholders to support malaria interventions. It is expected that by end of the project period in June 2017, two main objectives would have been achieved as follows;
• Testing prior to malaria treatment and tracking increasing by 10% in all
10 regions where the project is implemented.
• Formation and operationalization of District Malaria Advocacy Groups in 25% of districts in Ghana
So far the Consortium is implementing the project in 70 districts in the ten regions of Ghana.
Activities implemented targeted at local level policy makers, health seekers and health care service providers with the project’s key advocacy and BCC key messages.
These included formation and orientation of additional District Malaria Advocacy Groups, and community malaria ambassadors, organizing community durbars/video shows, house to house sensitization, dawn to dusk sensitization using community information centres, radio discussion programs, airing of BCC jingles, orientation for media personnel and monitoring and supportive supervision visits.
Achievements so far shows that 1,389,632 Health care seekers have been sensitized to accept/demand to be tested for malaria before treatment.
Additionally, 3,237 health care service providers were oriented on the need to adhere to the WHO protocol on malaria diagnosis (Test, Treat and Track). 67 District Malaria Advocacy Groups have been formed in ten project regions and 1506 community malaria ambassadors trained in all these districts.
District Malaria needs assessments have been carried out in all the districts by the District Malaria Advocacy Groups and Malaria Advocacy.
Action Plans have been developed for implementation during the year.
Partnership building particularly with District/Municipal Assemblies, Ghana Health Service (Regional, Municipal/District Health Directorates) and our engagement with Traditional leaders, Religious leaders and community opinion leaders has yielded strong support for the project.
The DMAG in collaboration with the district partners, are embarking on fund raising activities towards increasing the domestic funds available for ending malaria in their communities and districts.
This is in line with the theme chosen for this year’s world malaria day celebration, “end malaria for good; invest in malaria prevention”.
As HFFG joins in the celebration of the 2017 World Malaria Day, the organisation remains committed to strengthening its effort in the fight against malaria.
HFFG is therefore urging Ghanaians to support the fight against the deadly disease by investing resources into malaria activities in the various districts and municipalities in order to reduce the malaria burden in the country and ultimately end malaria in Ghana for good. Ghana will surely gain economically if we invest in malaria prevention and halt this menace in the country.
This year was malaria day was themed: “End Malaria For Good; Invest In Malaria Prevention”.
BY: ISAAC KOFI DZOKPO / GHANAMEDIAWORLD.COM
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