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General News of Saturday, 10 May 2008

Source: GNA

Druggists to be trained soon to help combat malaria

Cape Coast, May 10, GNA - The Malaria Control Programme of the Ministry of Health (MOH) would soon train drug store attendants and other chemists to prescribe malaria drugs at areas where clinics and health centres are not within reach.

Mr Kwame Gakpey, an official of the Programme who made this known at a durbar of chiefs and people of Kakumdo, a community near Cape Coast on Saturday said this was to help minimize mortality rates brought about by malaria especially among children and pregnant women. He said until that was done, all malaria cases should be reported early at health facilities for quick treatment to forestall any complications and deaths.

The Durbar, which is to educate the people on the dangers of the disease, was under the theme "malaria: prevention is better than cure". It was organized by the Indo-African Child Foundation in conjunction with Miss Malaika 2007/2008, Laurie Lawson and the Wesley Girls High School.

Mr Gakpey said the symptoms of malaria included vomiting, loss of appetite, bodily pains and diarrhoea. He said the disease which was normally accompanied by high temperature could lead to convulsions adding that it was not caused by witches as claimed in some areas and urged mothers to be vigilant and report such cases early.

He regretted that malaria was still killing most pregnant women because they engaged in self medication instead of going to the hospital and urged them to stop that practice. Mr Gakpey urged mothers not to sponge children who had high temperature with cold water but must use ordinary tap water adding that sponging should start from the legs upwards to prevent shock and convulsion.

He said the MOH had sent out some Rapid Diagnostics Test Kids to some of the regions as part of interventions to combat the disease and that it was doing its best to minimize the incidence of malaria in the country. Mr Gakpey advised the people to use malaria drugs prescribed by qualified staff and that where Artesunate Amodiaquine was prescribed, the patient's weight should be checked. Mr Sameer Tembe, Executive Director of Indo-African Child Health Foundation, said his outfit would continue to promote programmes, policies and actions to provide children with good health. He said malaria continued to be an impediment to child health in Africa and expressed the hope that the education being carried out would go a long way to help combat it. Ms Lawson urged pregnant women to take good care of themselves and sleep in treated mosquito nets to prevent getting the disease. Some selected students from the Wesley Girls High School who have been trained would move from house to house on Sunday to educate the community on malaria and also share treated mosquito nets to people in the Kakumdo community. 10 May 08

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