The National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) has launched a new strategy known as Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) to fight malaria in the country.
The new intervention seeks to intermittently administer full treatment courses, using recommended medicine during the malaria season to prevent illness.
Experts say the new treatment campaign reduces malaria parasite load in children by maintaining therapeutic anti-malaria drug concentrations in the blood of infected children during the disease’s most potent periods.
Abu Kansanbata, Upper West Regional Deputy Minister launched the new strategy at the national celebration of this year’s World Malaria Day on behalf of the Regional Minister, Bede Ziedeng in Wa.
In an address read on his behalf, Mr. Ziedeng noted that a survey undertaken by Ghana Statistical Service and the Navrongo Health Research Centre in 2011 showed that more than 40 to 50 per cent of children in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions had malaria parasites.
In comparison, only four per cent of children in Greater Accra Region and 17 per cent in Volta Region lived with the parasites.
Mr. Ziedeng was therefore of the opinion that a “one-size fits [all]” approach to malaria control, in view of the huge differences in prevalence across the regions, would not work.
He expressed the hope that the new intervention would enable the country to achieve and sustain near-zero tolerance malaria deaths, and a malaria-free country if it succeeds in changing the way things are done.
Dr. Kesiah Malm, Deputy Programme Manager of the NMCP, said universal diagnoses of all suspected cases under a test, treat and track strategy would require that all suspected fever cases would be tested before positive results are treated with anti-malaria drugs.
This approach, she explained, is intended to target malaria medicines to real malaria cases to minimise wastage, promote rational use of medicines, and save limited resources to fight other diseases.
She called for increased political commitment that would translate into allocation of more funds for malaria control.
Dr. Malm said the private sector is also needed to take proper place in leading the process of growth by supporting malaria control efforts, while young and talented minds should come out with innovative ways of defeating the disease.
Dr Felicia Owusu-Antwi, a representative of World Health Organisation, said the World malaria day is an occasion to energise the commitment to fight malaria and to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for the disease prevention and control.
She said global efforts to control and eliminate malaria have saved about 3.3 million lives since 2000.
From 2000 and 2012 malaria incidence in Sub-Saharan Africa, reduced by 31 per cent and mortality rate went down by almost 50 per cent.
Dr. Owusu- Antwi said if the trend continues mortality could be further reduced by 62 per cent by 2015.