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INDEPTH Network launches malaria care and surveillance project

By
Lydia Asamoah, GNA
    

Accra, July 28, GNA –
IDEPTH Network, a global network of health and demographic surveillance
systems, in collaboration with the Ghana Heath Service, is to roll out a new
malaria project to strengthen quality of malaria care and surveillance in the
communities.

The initiative, which
runs from July 2017 to December 2019, would help accelerate the reduction of
malaria burden among children below 10 years and pregnant women in rural
communities through various health control packages.

The project aims to
accelerate the reduction of malaria burden among children under 10 years and
pregnant women in rural communities.

The packages would
involve improved access to quality malaria care at the community, improved
knowledge among malaria care providers, and an enhanced community demand for
quality malaria data and care for decision making.

Launching the Project
on Friday in Accra, Professor Osman Sankoh, the Executive Director of IDEPTH
Network, said the project was being sponsored by the UK based Comic Relief and
a pharmaceutical company, under an 800,000 pounds fund to be implemented in
selected districts within the Upper East, Brong Ahafo and the Greater Accra Regions
where malaria cases were rampant.

He said the project
was core to the National Malaria Control Programme’s strategy as the
communities would have access to treatment for uncomplicated malaria.

He expressed the hope
that community members would embraced the project and own it to ensure
sustainability.

Other Project Partners
include research teams from Kintampo, Dodowa and Navrongo Health Research
Centres who were represented at the launch.

Dr Kwaku Poku Asante,
the Acting Director of Kintampo Health Research Centre, said very often children
with fever were unable to get to a facility to be properly tested for malaria
because of distance and unavailability of the Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) or
medication.

He said this explained
the importance of the project that targets community members to bridge those
gaps and help reduce the malaria burden. 

He it would help
improved knowledge of malaria care providers including community health
officers (MCPS) or nurses, licensed chemical sellers, and community-based
workers at the community level to test and treat malaria.

Dr Asante noted that
under the project, there would be training and reorientation on the MCPs on
malaria symptoms, mRDT use, treatment, tracking patient outcome, referral of
severe malaria cases, febrile illnesses, basic record keeping, quality of care,
and continuous supply of RDTs.

He said professional
groups and associations including religious groups, market women associations,
GHABA, pensioners, traditional medicine practitioners, GPRTU, fishermen and
fishmongers association, as well as school children, would be among partners
under the project.

Malaria has been a
major cause of poverty and low productivity accounting for about 32.5 per cent
of all Out Patient Department attendance. 

It is expected that
the level of malaria diagnosis using RDT would increase from the current eight
per cent to 50 per cent among the primary beneficiaries at the community level.

Dr Kesiah Malm, Acting
Director of NMCP, and Dr Linda Vanotoo, the Greater Accra Regional Director of
Health, lauded the project but advised that it should be linked with existing
national programmes including the CHPS compound system, to ensure
sustainability and community ownership.

They said there was
also the need to strengthen existing systems so that it would leapfrog the
malaria care and surveillance programme.

GNA

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