Zoomlion Ghana, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, has undertaken a series of activities in three of the five northern regions on how locals can control the spread of malaria.
Organised by the Vector Control Unit of Zoomlion, with support from the Nugochi Memorial Institute for Medical Research of the University of Ghana and National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) of the Ministry of Health, the series of trainings took place over several days across the north in various Municipal and District Assemblies (MDA).
Participants were taken through how to implement and monitor larvae source management, mapping of water bodies and how to effectively target main mosquito breeding sites to reduce mosquito population.
Mosquitoes are considered one of the deadliest animals in the world that transmit diseases, and more than half of the world’s population lives in areas with mosquito species.
A Vector Control Technical Officer of the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), Christian Atta-Obeng who spoke about how to map the various breeding sites of mosquitoes, identified ponds, stream fringes, water channels, rice fields, end of flood water among others as breeding sites for mosquitoes – hence the need to target and apply the best approaches to kill the mosquito larvae.
He said the operatives will use Bacillus thuringiensis var israelensis (Bti), which has been recommended for larviciding by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as an efficient biological agent against mosquito larvae and is also safe for other life forms, unlike the use of chemicals.
Dr. Kwadwo Kyereme Frempong, a Molecular Entomologist with the Nugochi Institute for Medical Research, explained that more than half of the world’s population lives in areas with mosquito species that transmit deadly diseases, hence the need to sustain mosquito control efforts to prevent outbreak of diseases.
Dr. Frempong noted that key mosquito types such as Anopheles, Aedes, and Culex are of public health concern and need to be managed effectively. “The peak hours for mosquito bites ranges from 6pm to 10pm, and most of the biting occurs outdoors. The public should take note and watch their lifestyle during these hours,” he pointed out.
Muniratu Venu, a social and behaviour-change communication expert who also taught participants on the need to utilise local available channels to engage community members, touted it as an efficient way of gaining public support for the exercise to sustain its success.
The Head of Vector Control Unit of Zoomlion, Rev. Ebenezer Kwame Addae, entreated all participants to efficiently deploy the scientific knowledge gained on effective Larval source management in their various localities, to improve health conditions of residents in the Upper East Region.
The Upper West Regional Health Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Osei Kuffour Afreh who opened the training session, in a statement indicated that partnerships of this form to render essential health services are in line with the SDG goal 17, which talks about sustainable partnershisp, and urged all stakeholders in the delivery of vector control services to be good partners.
He said malaria prevalence in the Upper West Region is relatively low as a result of many interventions – such as mosquito bed-net distribution, in-door residual spraying among others implemented in the region. He added that the larviciding comes as a supplement intervention to complement existing core interventions for malaria control.
The training programme participants included Malaria Focal Persons, Health Promotion Officers, District Environmental Health Officers and staff of Zoomlion Ghana limited among others.