News / Africa

Ghana Tries New Techniques to Combat Malaria

Hassana Ousmane rests her head against the bed where her 21-month-old daughter, Zeinab, suffering from malaria, rests at the Princess Marie Louise Children's Hospital in Accra, Ghana, April 25, 2012.Hassana Ousmane rests her head against the bed where her 21-month-old daughter, Zeinab, suffering from malaria, rests at the Princess Marie Louise Children's Hospital in Accra, Ghana, April 25, 2012.
x
Hassana Ousmane rests her head against the bed where her 21-month-old daughter, Zeinab, suffering from malaria, rests at the Princess Marie Louise Children's Hospital in Accra, Ghana, April 25, 2012.
Hassana Ousmane rests her head against the bed where her 21-month-old daughter, Zeinab, suffering from malaria, rests at the Princess Marie Louise Children's Hospital in Accra, Ghana, April 25, 2012.
Joana Mantey
— Ghana has adopted new ways of fighting malaria, which is considered the leading cause of death among children under five years old in sub-Saharan Africa. Among the new techniques to raise awareness is making use of notable public figures to sensitize people on prevention, control and treatment of the disease.

The devastating effect of malaria is well-documented. In Ghana it kills 20,000 children every year. Unborn children are not spared. When an infection is not well treated in pregnant women, it can result in anemia, miscarriages, stillbirths and maternal deaths.

Ghana’s National Malaria Control Program is spearheading efforts at managing the disease. The communications officer, Kwame Dzidzorlegapker, said the most effective way of prevention is through use of insecticide-treated nets. More than 12 million nets have been distributed free of charge throughout the country.

Dzidzorlegapker said intensive education is going on to bridge the gap between access to nets and actual use.  

“The strategy is very unique because this time we are also hanging the nets. Research has been conducted and we know that based on that, a lot of people cannot hang the net and it has become difficult, so that is why we use that strategy,” he said.

Heroes help in fight

Another intervention known as "United Against Malaria" or UAM, makes use of role models in the fight against the disease. Personalities include football stars, musicians, politicians and traditional rulers. The expectation is that children retain and act on messages delivered by people they recognize as heroes.

Emmanuel Fiagbe supervises activities of the UAM. He also is director of a project known as ‘Voices for Malaria-Free Future."    

“We are also using United Against Malaria to bring on board the private sector. Funding for malaria is a critical issue. We cannot rely on donors all the time. We need to develop some capacity of providing some support for ourselves," said Fiagbe.

Businesses also are given roles to play in the "United Against Malaria" program. As partners, they are encouraged to educate employees on ways of preventing the disease. Some companies are going further to spray chemical insecticides on walls and roofs of all houses in particular communities. The practice has brought about significant reduction in malaria cases in the Obuasi Township and surrounding villages.

Using varied tools, financing

Fiagbe said Ghana has secured a financing arrangement with the Global Fund to extend this exercise to 40 districts in the country.

He said the U.S. president's Malaria Initiative also is funding indoor spraying in the whole of the northern region of Ghana.

Other measures focus on early diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Fiagbe said the establishment of some stations, known as Community Health Planning and Services units, ensure easy access to health services.

"Through that process we have a nurse located in an eight-mile radius in many communities who take care of children who have malaria and other diseases. This also has been introduced - what we call rapid diagnostic testing kit. So you can use it to test your own child. You don’t need to go to a facility to do that," he said.

He also said use of rectal medications, which are available over the counter, offer protection to children before they arrive at health facilities for treatment.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid