A Malaria Safe Awards and Recognition ceremony has been held in Takoradi to recognize companies in the Western Region who have made innovative investments in malaria prevention and control activities that target employees, dependents and host communities.
The ceremony was also aimed at appreciating individual company efforts in contributing to malaria control in the country.
The award, is a Private Sector Malaria Prevention (PSMP) project of John Hopkins Center for Communication Programmes (JHU-CCP) in partnership with the National Malaria Prevention Programme (NMCP) with funding from the United Kingdom.
PSMP, aims to invigorate the private sector’s contribution to malaria control; chiefly, by facilitating the supply and distribution of insecticide treated bed nets.
Dr. (Mrs) Kezia Malm, National Malaria Control Programme Manager speaking at the programme noted that malaria, continues to have severe socioeconomic impact on the populace.
“It is one of the causes of household poverty because it results in absenteeism from the daily activities of productive living and income generations” she said.
She mentioned that studies have shown that about 30 days of work in a year is lost on average due to malaria; the disease also continues to prevent many school children from attending school due to illness, diminishing their capacity to realize their full potential.
“Thus, it is very important that we work together so that one day we can celebrate the elimination of malaria from this country; partnership and effective collaboration has over the years played a very important role in bringing malaria prevention and treatment service closer and closer to the door step of the people.”, she pointed out.
According to Dr. (Mrs) Malm, the country, recorded 4.6million suspected malaria cases at the Out-Patient Department at the various hospitals during the first half of 2017, representing a 7.6 % decrease over cases reported within the same period in 2016.
Averagely, she said 25,140 suspected malaria cases were recorded daily; the number of malaria admissions reduced from 176,930 in 2016 between January to June to 145,986 in 2017 within the same period.
Also, she said during the same period, malaria death reduced from 696 in 2016 to 266 in 2017, representing a percentage decrease of 17.50% and 62% in admissions and death respectively.
She mentioned that the private sector is one key stakeholder in health and for that matter in the fight against malaria; the private sector employs over 90% of the working population in the country with the agribusiness and the informal sector leading with over 40% each.
She added that the corporate formal sector employs about 5.7% just like the public sector “therefore, if we can get the private sector to lead or at minimum support in the efforts of making their working force malaria free, then, it means we have won the battle for huge proportion of the Ghanaian population of Ghana and that is significant”.
“I call on all to support the national efforts in the mobilization of funds and human resources need to improve the quality of services rendered in our quest to fight malaria”, he said.
Deputy Western Regional Minister, Mrs.Gifty Eugenia Kusi in an address read for said malaria affect everyone but the unfortunate are women and children; the disease drains the resources of families and keeps the poor in poverty.
“Cerebral malaria can cause brain damage in younger kids resulting in lifelong learning difficulties, the situation impedes job opportunities for our youth and it effects can make Ghana workforce unable to operate at its full potential due to declines in size and capabilities”, she said.
According to her, the disease is responsible for employee absenteeism, increased health care spending and decreased productivity; in this regard, insecticide treated bed nets are one of the most efficacious and cost-effective preventive intervention against malaria morbidity and mortality.
“I therefore urge you all to embrace the goals of PSMP to help prevent malaria death and the economic burden from malaria”, she said.
Mr. Felix Nyanor-Fosu, Chief of Party of PSMP said malaria prevention continues to be recognize as an important element of economic development for malaria endemic countries such as Ghana because of the social and economic impacts of the diseases.
“This programme, aims at appreciating individual company efforts in contributing to malaria control in the country; I hope more companies will be inspired and motivated to do even more to prevent malaria and its economic effects on employee absenteeism, increased health care spending as well as decrease productivity.
AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem Gold Mine, Golden Star Resources Limited, Zeal Environmental Technologies, Benso Oil Palm Plantation Limited and Norpalm Ghana Limited received awards, dubbed “special award to all malaria safe companies”.
Goldfields Ghana Limited, Ghana Rubber Estate Limited, Samartex, ENI Ghana Limited and Persus Mining Ghana Limited also received awards on “recognition for malaria control activities”.