Accra, Aug 14, GNA – A report by the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) said Ghana in 2013 recorded about 11.3 million cases of Outpatients Department (OPD) malaria.
It said that on the average 30,300 of such cases were seen each day in the county’s health facilities.
The report, which was made available by the NMCP to the Ghana News Agency on Thursday, said the malaria burden is not felt only in the health sector, but in every aspect of our social and economic life.
It said the overall goal of the current strategic plan of the NMCP is to reduce malaria specific morbidity and mortality by 75 per cent by 2015.
The report said OPD malaria cases per 1,000 population in 2013, was 417 for the country, adding that like the previous years the rural areas recorded more cases and higher rate per 1,000 than the urban centres.
The ranked order of reported cases in 2013 shows that Upper West region recorded the least cases of 407,000 OPD malaria cases while Brong Ahafo region reported the highest which was about 1,357,000.
However, the highest incidence rate for OPD malaria was recorded in Upper East region which was 700 per 1,000 populations and the lowest was in Greater Accra which recorded 174 cases per 1,000.
It said the proportion of the total OPD cases attributed to malaria gradually reduced from over 45 per cent in the past to less than 40 per cent.
According to the report, in 2013, the proportion of OPD cases attributed to malaria increase slightly to 43 per cent.
It observed that on regional basis Greater Accra recorded the least proportion, 27 per cent of all OPD cases with the highest being Upper East region with 53 per cent.
It said among pregnant women, presumptive malaria cases recorded at OPD in 2013 were 217,000 representing 20 per cent of pregnant women OPD attendances.
It said a total of 3,332, 800 clinically diagnosed malaria cases were recorded among children under five years at the OPDs across the country and thus accounting for 45 per cent of OPD attendance amongst this age group.
It stated that of all the presumptively diagnosed OPD malaria cases, pregnant women constitute 1.9 per cent while children less than five years were 30 per cent.
The report said though the country was pursuing the 3-T policy (test, treat and track), not all suspected cases were tested in the year under review.
It said the target for the year under review was that 60 per cent of all OPD malaria cases would be parasitologically tested but the country achieved only 48 per cent.
It said, however, two regions out of the 10 regions in the country, namely Central 70.6 per cent and Upper West 68.8 per cent exceeded the target.
The report said whilst the Central region recorded the highest proportion of OPD cases tested, the Northern region recorded the lowest test rate of 37.3 per cent.
It noted that 45 per cent of OPD malaria cases among children under five years and almost all OPD malaria among pregnant women were tested.
It said in general, service providers are gradually adhering to the need to test before treatment and with improvement in the supply of diagnostic materials it is expected that test rates will increase in future.
Among the recommendations of the report are the need for stratification of malaria endemicity up to the district level through monitoring of parasite prevalence and malaria transmission.
It said currently there is inadequate funding for malaria control activities with heavy dependence on donor funding, hence it called for the mobilization of more domestic funding from both government and corporate institutions to fight malaria.
It said there is the need to sustain efforts to maintain universal coverage of Long Last Insecticides Treated Nets after the mass campaigns with continuous distribution.
The report calls for multi-sectorial collaboration with sectors on mining, housing, labour employment and agriculture.
It also called for an increase in diagnostic capacity in the country to decrease the level of presumptive diagnosis of malaria and therefore rationalize Artemisinin based Combination Therapies (ACTs) use.
It said there is the need to improve the collaboration with National Health Insurance Authority to better inform pricing and enable reimbursement for malaria case management and to strengthen the capacity for case management and supportive supervision.
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