Hope for Future Generations (HFFG), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has urged Ghanaians to support the fight against malaria to help eradicate the deadly disease in the various communities for good.
In a statement issued to mark the 2017 World Malaria Day, on the theme: “End malaria for good; invest in malaria prevention,” the NGO said Ghana would surely gain economically if investment was made in malaria prevention and halted the menace in the country.
It said even though, suspected malaria cases increased by 6.9 per cent in 2016 as compared with the previous year, admission and deaths attributed to the disease however decreased by 6.3 per cent in 2015 and 24.6 per cent in 2016.
Malaria under five case fatality rate also dropped from 0.44 per cent in the first half of 2015 to 0.35 at the end of the semester in 2016.
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 organisation used Social and Behavioral Change Communication (SBCC) as a strategy in its malaria prevention programming and implemented projects to this effect from 2014 to 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 per cent 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.
In Ghana, malaria is still endemic in all 10 the regions, however, there is a financial constraints now, and in the foreseeable future, serve as the greatest threat to maintaining malaria prevention.
According to research funding trends by the public sector and donors are discouraging, leaving an annual funding gap of an estimated $ 2.6 billion for malaria prevention from 2011 to 2020.
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.
It embarks on a nationwide advocacy campaign towards mobilising domestic resources for malaria control activities in Ghana.
The Consortium as part of the project, is implementing Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) interventions, aimed at changing the attitudes and behaviours of both health care service providers and health seekers towards testing all suspected malaria cases before treatment and to promote utilisation of Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (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 increasing local government funding for malaria activities in the reduction of malaria cases.
ARMS is using modern and evidence-based advocacy and BCC strategies to mobilise 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 per cent in the 10 regions where the project is implemented and the formation and operationalisation of District Malaria Advocacy Groups (DMAG) in 25 per cent districts.
So far the Consortium is implementing the project in 70 districts in the 10 regions and the 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 DMAG, and community malaria ambassadors, organising community durbars/video shows, house to house sensitisation, dawn to dusk sensitisation using community information centres, radio discussion programmes, 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 sensitised 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).
Sixty-seven DMAG have been formed in the 10 project regions and 1,506 community malaria ambassadors trained in all these districts.
District Malaria needs assessments have been carried out in all the districts by the DMAGs and Malaria Advocacy Action Plans have been developed for implementation during the year.
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.