Accra, June 18, GNA- Stakeholders have met in Accra to review the achievements, progress, gaps and challenges in Ghana’s ambitious efforts towards malaria control, and ultimately achieving total elimination of the disease.
The Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership “High Burden to High Impact” stakeholders meeting, which is being held by the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service, through the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), had participants from academia, policy makers, clinicians, regulatory agencies, civil society groups, as well as a delegated team of experts from the WHO.
They were expected to make inputs into the development of a strategic plan over the next four days, to guide the country to properly define its way forward towards achieving the set targets in the Global Technical Strategy for malaria 2016 to 2030.
Nana Kwabena Adjei-Mensah, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, at the opening ceremony on Monday, said the involvement of all key stakeholders was important to ensure that what would come out of the meeting, would be strategies that were workable in all sectors, saying “this will demand political will, commitment and sustainable financing”.
Nana Adjei-Mensah said although the country had made significant progress in the fight against malaria in the past decade, much could be done through the harnessing of “our comparative strengths”, for a better coordinated response towards the eventual elimination of the disease.
Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Minister of Health, spoke about the gratifying news of the reduction in the disease burden and its related deaths recorded in the country’s health facilities in the past decade, saying the observation gave hope that if efforts were sustained, the battle could be eventually won.
He said consistent efforts had been made to strengthen the country’s health delivery system, improved geographical and financial access to basic health care services, improved quantitatively and qualitatively on the health workforce.
Again, political leadership over the years, he said, have demonstrated ample commitment to the fight against malaria and other communicable disease, saying “it is against this background that a couple of years ago, the World Malaria Report which revealed that the progress in the global fight against malaria has stalled came sending shivers down the spines”.
Mr Agyeman-Manu said what had been very disturbing was the fact that Ghana happened to be one of the 10 African countries hardest hit, but fortunately for Ghana, its hope was rekindled by the fact that the WHO, the RBM Partnership to end malaria and other global partners had not abandoned the country, but were ready to support the efforts to get back on track.
The Health Minister said the High Burden to High Impact Approach, was a targeted country-led and owned malaria response with key mutually reinforcing response elements to guide the nation to assess itself around these fundamentals, to reignite the pace of progress in the global malaria fight.
Dr Keizia Malm, the Programme Manager of the National Malaria Control Programme, mentioned some major challenges militating against efforts to achieving the set targets as the non-adherence to drug therapy leading to resistance, improper use of the insecticide treated bed nets, the continuous creation of breeding sites for mosquitoes through negative community and individuals activities, and the dwindling donor funding and support.
She said the disease burden was still high in certain endemic areas and regions, and appealed to the public to sleep under the nets to protect especially pregnant women and children from re-infection, and further called for national support in the domestic mobilization of funding through the Ghana Malaria Foundation to be soon launched, to support the country achieve its elimination targets.