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Health News of Friday, 17 September 2010

Source: GNA

Larger army of advocates needed to win battle against malaria

Ho, Sept 17, GNA - Voices for Malaria-Free Future Project of the John Hopkins University Centre for Communication Programmes (JHU/CCP) in Ghana has said communities needed to be organise community level advocates in the fight against malaria. Such advocates should come from a broad spectrum of institutions and groups and individuals such as mothers support groups, chiefs, family heads, local political leaders, opinion leaders, religious organisations, local health facilities and traditional healers. Mr Emmanuel Fiagbey, Country Director of the JHU/CCP, said this at a workshop for Malaria Advocacy Mentors from six districts in the Volta and Eastern regions including their District Directors of Health in Ho.

The workshop was organized by the JHU/CCP in collaboration with the National Malaria Control Programme. Mr Fiagbey said malaria advocacy should target patient care at the community level as well as policy implementation by agencies at the local government level.

He said malaria advocacy required mentors who are knowledgeable and confident and capable of recruiting and inspiring advocates at the grassroots level to be passionate about the anti-malaria campaign. Mr Fiagbey said the Malaria-Free Future Project is being carried out in 18 districts on account of the high incidence of malaria in those districts, their leaders' responsiveness to the project and the willingness of their district assemblies to commit the recommended 0.5 percent of their Common Fund to the anti-malaria drive. Dr Winfred Ofosu, the Acting Deputy Director of Public Health, Volta Region, said the anti-malaria campaign needed to be taken up actively by all sections of the society.

He said it was necessary to develop home-grown solutions to the challenge posed by the disease. Dr Ofosu said the seriousness of the disease seemed to have been lost on the citizenry because of its familiarity to the extent that "occasionally we quantify its effect on population as if it has not been part of us."