Malaria still the leading cause of infant and maternal mortality – NGO

By
Samuel Akapule, GNA

Bolgatanga, Sept. 1, GNA – Malaria is still
the highest cause of infant and maternal deaths and illness despite the various
interventions by Government and development partners to help control it.

Mr Abdul-Razak Issah, the Regional Coordinator
of the Institute of Social Research and Development (ISRAD)-Ghana, said this at
the launch of a new project dubbed: “Advocacy for Resource for Malaria stoppage
(ARMS) Initiative Project”, at a stakeholder forum held in Bolgatanga.

He said the control of malaria still remains a
serious public health challenge in Ghana and financial constraints coupled with
donor fatigue had compounded the problem.

He called on all local partners to contribute
more resources to help tackle the problem.

“Funding trends by the public sector and donor
partners are discouraging, leaving an annual gap of an estimated $2.6 billion
dollars for malaria prevention from 2011 to 2020. This, therefore, calls for a
holistic approach and more financial support to fight this disease”, he said.

The Regional Coordinator expressed worry about
the failure of the Municipal and District Assemblies(MDAs) to release the 0.5
per cent of the District Responsive Initiative which states that “One half per
cent of the fund should be utilized to support the district response initiative
for the prevention of Malaria’.

ISRAD with funding from the UKAID was implementing
a project dubbed” Advocacy for Resource for Malaria stoppage (ARMS) Initiative”
to press home the need for MDAs to release the percentage of the malaria funds
to the Ghana Health Service.

The project would cover the Bolgatanga
Municipal, Bongo, Nabdam and Talensi, Kassena-Nakana West and Kassena-Nankana
Municipal and ten communities per each district would benefit from it, he said.

It would collaborate with the National Malaria
Control Programme of the GHS to help address some of the challenges by forming
District Malaria Advocacy Groups(DMAG) and Community Malaria Ambassadors to help
galvanize more community support for malaria activities.

This would be done through citizen engagement
at district and community levels, improve domestic resource mobilization for
malaria activities, advocate for judicious use of existing malaria resources at
the community level and ensure transparency and accountability at the community
level.

Mr Stephen Bordotsiah, the Upper East Regional
focal person on malaria, said the Region has a high record of malaria
prevalence among children and pregnant women.

The stakeholders at the forum included
traditional and religious leaders, civil society organizations, the media, GHS
and the Ghana Red Cross.

GNA

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