Hohoe (V/R), April 26, GNA – Mr Mahama Asei Seini, the Deputy Minister of Health, says all efforts must be directed to achieving the ambitious goal of ending AIDS, TB and eliminating malaria in Ghana and Africa by 2030.

“It is the benchmark by which we will be measured-individually and collectively. Eliminating malaria is essential to achieving “The Africa and for that matter The Ghana We Aspire To”: a prosperous nation based on sustainable and inclusive growth and development,” the Deputy Minister said.

Mr Asei Seini who was addressing the commemoration of the 2022 World Malaria Day in Hohoe, said the country had made progress against malaria, adding that incidence attributable to malaria had declined to 19.6 per cent in 2022 from 22.6 per cent in 2017.

He said despite the progress, malaria continued to pose the greatest health risks in Ghana and Africa as everyone was at risk.

“Malaria cases remain high, with about 12 million malaria cases suspected out of which 5.7 million were confirmed in 2021. Our most vulnerable population face the greatest burdens, including rural communities, children, and pregnant women,” he said.

Mr Asei Seini said the persistence of malaria made achieving sustainable growth and development a challenge, placing substantial burden on doctors, nurses, and community health workers as well as increasing costs on the national health insurance scheme.

“At current levels, malaria will cost Ghanaians $32 billion over the next 10 years.

This includes more than one billion missed days of work, two billion US dollars in health system expenditures, $29 billion in private-sector losses, and $580 million in reduced household income.”

He noted that a reduction in the cost would remove barriers to universal health coverage and sustainable domestic financing of health.

Mr Asei Seini said it was also critical that the fight to end malaria was sustained as a national priority, increase domestic resources, and mainstream responsibility across all sectors and at all levels.

The event was on the theme: “Advance Equity. Build Resilience. End Malaria.”

Dr Franklin Asiedu Bekoe, the Director of Public Health, Ghana Health Service (GHS), said a country could only progress with healthy individuals, productive workers and citizens.

He said the call to prevent and control malaria was to ensure an environment of good health and wellness and productive citizens.

He said in 2021, there were more than 5.7 million confirmed malaria cases and 391,052 admissions with a rippling effect on social and economic development.

Dr Bekoe said considering the country’s huge malaria burden, progress was critical not only for the nation but the world at large.

He said the malaria fight was one of the most inspiring health stories, resulting in great investments and strong partnerships that had culminated in dramatic progress against malaria over the years.

“Working together; the government, donor agencies, health service workers, dedicated partners, civil society organizations, traditional and community leaders, and communities have reached millions of people in Ghana with effective malaria control strategies, supported by the massive deployment of logistics, such as the Long-Lasting Insecticide treated Nets.”

Dr Bekoe said Ghana had made progress with malaria control despite challenging operating conditions, including the rise in the proportion of suspected malaria cases tested from 87.3 per cent in 2017 to 97.0 per cent in 2021 and increase in the proportion of pregnant women who have taken the full dose of Sulphadoxine-Pyrimethamine for prevention of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp) from 8.7 to 17.0 percent in 2017 and 2021 respectively.

He noted that the government was committed to supporting the programmes in mobilizing the needed funding to implement the various proven strategies as outlined in the National Strategic Plan.

Dr Bekoe said the GHS would continue to work with stakeholders and partners for increased mobilization of domestic and external funding as well as provide guidance for appropriate malaria control policies and interventions.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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