ECOWAS to adopt Ghana's malaria vector control project

Post date: Mar 29, 2009 10:0:42 PM

Accra, March 29, GNA - The Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS), is adopting Ghana's Integrated Malaria Vector Control project, as part of efforts to uproot the disease in the sub-region. The ECOWAS initiative would be facilitated by the proposed establishment of a plant in Ghana, for the production of larvicides for the country and the sub-region.

This was made known by Mr Felix Quintanar Pulido, Vice President of the Biological and Pharmaceutical Laboratory (LABIOFAM) Enterprise Group of Cuba, as well as the Malaria Control Project Co-ordinator in Ghana, and Dr Hafeza Taher of the LABIOFAM Malaria Control Project, who made available to the Ghana News Agency, in Accra, a report on the project.

Incidence of malaria reduced in the range of 40 per cent and 68 per cent from March to October 2008, following the introduction of the integrated vector control project by Cuba in March 2006. Vector control measures such as the use of biolarvicides, bactivec and griselesf, led to 100 per cent larval reduction in less than 48 hours after treatment.

The incidence of malaria diminished by 54.4 per cent in a period of eight months, through the integrated vector control project together with other preventive measures taken by the Ministry of Health.

The project was the by-product of the 13th Ghana-Cuba Joint Commission of Co-operation, which was followed by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Government of Ghana and LABIOFAM for the use of biological agents for the eradication of malaria. The MOU aimed at achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to reduce malaria cases and mortality by 50 per cent by 2010. The first phase of the project was started in Accra, the second in the Greater Accra, Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions, while the third phase embraced the rest of the country. The report suggested the need for an integrated anti-vectoral fight in the control and prevention of malaria and other diseases and the essence of maintaining biological control activities in existing potential breeding places.

It called for environmental sanitation, integrated vector control services at the regional and district levels and the implementation of a permanent biological and entomological surveillance system. The report proposed the establishment of public information and education programme in relation to preventive measures of malaria and vector control as well as the promotion of public and private inter-sectoral collaboration at all levels. It recommended the incorporation of the project into the National Malaria Control Programme.

Ghana, which adopted a Roll Back Malaria strategy in 2000, is one of the countries in the sub- region mostly affected by the high prevalence of the species of mosquitoes carrying the vectors of diseases associated with the anopheles mosquito. As a result, there have been reports of various diseases in the country transmitted by these vectors with malaria being the most important disease due to its endemic nature.

Malaria represented 88.9 per cent of the total annual medical consultations of diseases that cannot be prevented by vaccination. The number of medical attentions hovered around 246 387 in 2001 and 272 174 in 2006, while the risk of contracting the disease was higher in children less than four years. The annual global incidence of malaria is more than 200 million cases, with more than two million annual deaths. Africa is the most affected by the disease while Ghana is one of the malaria hyper endemic countries in the world with 45 per cent of all the illnesses reported at the outpatient department of the medical centres. 29 March 09