There must be a conscious behavioural change, and taking personal responsibilities towards environmental cleanliness if the various interventions to end malaria by 2025 would be realized, the Adansihene, Pagyakotwere Afriyie Bonsra II, has said.
Despite the ‘test, treat and track’ approach adopted to significantly reduce or eliminate malaria cases in the country, the Adansihene has noted that if people do not make an effort to shun practices that breed mosquitoes in the various communities, all the interventions to eliminate the disease will be in vain.
He bemoaned the rising culture where people construct houses without providing toilet facilities as well as proper drainage systems, leading to unhygienic conditions which creates the breeding grounds of mosquitoes.
These developments, according to Pagyakotwere Afriyie Bonsra II, if unchecked, will roll back the gains being made in the fight to eliminate malaria, from the country.
To this end, while acknowledging some of the success recorded under the AngloGold Ashanti Malaria Control Programme (AGAMAL), in the district, he entreated the local assembly to consider reintroducing the ‘environmental police’ system. This, he explained, will help to curb unsanitary situations in the various households and thereby helping to end malaria.
The Adansihene made these remarks at a ceremony to commemorate the 2021 World Malaria Day, at Adansi Fomena in the Adansi North District of the Ashanti Region. The ceremony was organized with the support of AngloGold Ashanti.
Ghana recorded the highest absolute case numbers of malaria, being 500,000 new cases from 2017 to 2018. This figure represents a five per cent increase against the 2017 level. The development means that from 213 to 224 per thousand of the population are at risk.
Presently, malaria tops the list of top ten killer OPD diseases in the Adansi North District while also being the topmost cause of OPD attendants for the past three years. Malaria status of the district shows that it recorded 334 admissions, in 2018; 417 in 2019 and 577 in 2020.
However, the Adansi North District Health Director, Mr. Isaac Odame Awuku, disclosed that no child under five years died from malaria.
This notwithstanding, he observed that malaria cases have been going down in the District for the past three years. In 2018 the number of cases stood at 16,009, in 2019 it reduced further to 13, 269 and currently at 11,354, per 2020 data.
He attributed the progress to some interventions being implemented by the District Health Service in collaboration with the District Assembly and collaborators like AGAMAL. He said some of these interventions include a programme to protect pregnant mothers and their unborn babies from malaria, and the supply of treated bed nets to prevent infant mortality from malaria.
In support of this year’s theme to mark World Malaria Day, “Zero Malaria Starts with Me / Draw the Line Against Malaria,” he said it is possible to eliminate malaria in the country. To support the country to move from the pre-control stage to the pre-elimination stage, he said there ought to be other interventions like larva source management and environmental improvement among others, to drive malaria away.
AngloGold Ashanti continues to implement its flagship Malaria Control Programme through AGAMAL, which is recognized globally as a strong and a highly professional private sector entity in the fight against malaria.
Over the past two decades, AGAMAL has made some great progress in the malaria fight, saving more than seven million lives and preventing over one billion malaria cases.
The Superintendent-Stakeholder Engagement, of AngloGold Ashanti, Mr. Edmund Oduro Agyei said AGAMAL started as an initiative of the Obuasi Mine, in 2006, to reduce malaria cases that were impacting its production.
Consequently, he said the programme was extended to cover other regions of the country through the partnership with Global Fund.
AngloGold Ashanti, he observed is still committed through its sustainable development strategy to continually contribute to the health and wellbeing of the people of Obuasi. “This commitment is clearly spelt out in a Social Management Plan developed and bought into by all stakeholders to serve as AngloGold Ashanti’s roadmap to help diversify the economy of Obuasi through a shared value approach.”