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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora