Malaria deaths among Ghanaian children reduce

The incidence of malaria is still quite high across Ghana, but the death rate among children under the age of five has fallen

Ghana has recorded a reduction in malaria deaths in children under the age of five by 83% over the past eight years, the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) has said.

The rate of malaria-related deaths fell from 0.6% in 2012 to 0.1% in 2019, registering a significant improvement among children.

James Frimpong, the deputy programme manager of the NMCP, said malaria-related deaths among all age groups also fell by 88%.

He made these comments at an editors’ forum in Accra to engage journalists over how to use their platforms to encourage behavioural change.

Frimpong noted, however, that malarial incidents are still quite high across Ghana and that much work needs to be done to drive down the numbers.

Five-year strategic plan

A new, five-year strategic plan has been developed to tackle malaria, he said. The present plan will expire in December, while the new strategy is set to run from 2021 to 2025.

Frimpong said the NMCP is still deploying a variety of measures to help control the disease.

He cited the rise in ownership and use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) as one of the gains made by the programme. 

More pregnant women are also beginning to understand the importance of sleeping under treated mosquito nets following the distribution of ITNs to them, he said. 

90% reduction

The NMCP is targeting a 90% reduction in all malaria-related deaths by the year 2023, Frimpong said. The new five-year strategic plan is also aimed at reducing the incidence of malaria by half by the year 2025.

It intends to achieve pre-elimination – the situation where a district does not record a case of malaria for at least two years – in at least six districts by 2025.

The national programme manager of the NMCP, Keziah Malm, has called on the media to help educate the public about malaria.

She said malaria has killed more people in Ghana than the coronavirus, She therefore urged the media to help create awareness to fight the disease. 

E A Alanore 

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