Youth-led group to support malaria control programme

Post date: Mar 31, 2009 2:6:38 PM

GHANA NEWS AGENCY: The West African sub-region is expected to have a youth-led initiative geared towards supporting the 44 African nations that signed the historic declaration in Abuja in 2000 to scale malaria cases down to 50 per cent by year 2010 and near zero deaths by 2015.

A youth-led NGO, Volunteer Partnerships for West Africa (VPWA), is mobilizing volunteers from around the world for an intensive malaria awareness project dubbed Kick Malaria Out (KMO), which is an annual event to be held for the next six years to reach it objectives.

“This impressive campaign has been necessitated because of the identified flaw approach by the United Nations-backed Roll Back Malaria (RBM) in handling issues of malaria eradication in Africa,” Mr. Hayford Siaw, Executive Director of VPWA, said in a statement released in Accra on Monday.

“One important element missing in RBM is educating the population on breeding fields in households and communities and how the individual citizens can fight for Malaria free communities. The programme therefore lacks citizen centred approach,” he said.

Mr Hayford noted that the United States’ efforts to control malaria in the 50s was not about distributing nets and wondered why African governments were in the same bed with mosquito net manufacturers to throw nets on West Africans at the expense of dealing with real issues that can eradicate the disease which is killing our people every minute.

He said Ghana had seen an increase in mosquito nets and most organization now prided itself as distributing net to poor Africans knowing very well that these acts were unsustainable and created a mediocritise society.

According to a WHO report on Malaria in Ghana, there was no evidence of reduction in cases between 2001 and 2007 and reported deaths had increased in 2007.

Mr Hayford said according to WHO, Africa accounted for over 90 per cent of the 1.5 to 2 million global malaria deaths yearly.

“In many countries, the scourge is hardest on children from ages 1-5 with a child dying every 30 seconds. In the last decades, the prevalence of malaria in most of the affected countries has taken a huge toll on their health budgets and human resources despite efforts to keep the disease under control.”

Mr Hayford quoted the World Bank as saying Africa spent 12 billion dollars annually in fighting a disease “we could eradicate”.

“The urgent call now is on Africans to initiate holistic approach that puts the responsibility on us to eradicate the disease and that’s why KMO 2009 marks the beginning of a new chapter in Malaria Campaign in Africa,” he said.

The 2009 month long campaign in six West African countries (Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria) in August-September is to stimulate the citizens into action by disseminating information on the disease and its negative wide scale health and economic negative effects on the individual while educating the population on breeding fields in our homes and communities and measures to eliminate such sites.

Source: GNA