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Health News of Tuesday, 28 April 2020


We have what it takes to prevent malaria related deaths - Dr. Peprah

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Epidemiologist at the National Malaria Control Programme, Dr. Nana Yaw Peprah has underscored the need for Ghanaians to take preventive measures against malaria seriously.

The doctor says malaria is preventable, hence the need for Ghanaians to take the preventive measures seriously and seek early treatment.

Commenting on the death of some 54 persons in the first quarter of 2020 due to malaria, he said the deaths recorded are unfortunate.

He challenged the media to dedicate enough time to the fight against malaria because the fight against the disease would not be possible without the support of the Ghanaian media.

He also called on the private sector and individuals to invest in the campaign against malaria.

Dr. Peprah appealed to politicians to factor the issue of malaria in their policies.

He emphasized the point for behavioural change among Ghanaians.

Ghana has recorded a total of 54 malaria deaths between January and March 2020.

According to the Ghana Health Service (GHS), sixteen of the deaths were among children under five years.

Additionally, more than one million people tested positive for the disease during the period.

Commenting on the figure, Dr. Peprah said it is not the best for anyone to die from malaria because we have all the tools to prevent it.

"We need to ensure that nobody dies of malaria because all the tools are available to prevent it,” he said.

He said it was important for Ghanaians to observe the protocols by sleeping under an insecticide treated net and to test and confirm the incidence of malaria in their bloodstreams before they took any artemether-lumefantrine (ACT).

He added that pregnant women were to take all recommended doses of Sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine (SP) to keep themselves and their unborn babies safe from malaria and also comply with malaria treatment as prescribed.

Ghana, in the first quarter of the year, has recorded a total of 1,001,070 malarial cases , being nearly half of the 2,346,677 suspected cases, which were tested, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) stated.

Out of the confirmed cases, 21,201 were children under five years, while 28,764 were pregnant women.

Furthermore, 42 per cent of the 58,775 admissions due to malaria were among children.

Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites. The parasites are spread to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes, called “malaria vectors”.

There are 5 parasite species that cause malaria in humans, and 2 of these species – P. falciparum and P. vivax – pose the greatest threat.

In 2018, P. falciparum accounted for 99.7% of estimated malaria cases in the WHO African Region 50% of cases in the WHO South-East Asia Region, 71% of cases in the Eastern Mediterranean and 65% in the Western Pacific.

P. vivax is the predominant parasite in the WHO Region of the Americas, representing 75% of malaria cases.