Over 340,000 households in nine districts, in the Northern region, Under the US President's Malaria Initiative (PMI), have benefited from an Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) exercise, to rid it of malaria.
The US President's Malaria Initiative, is a collaboration between the Ministry of Health, the Ghana Health Service and the National Malaria Control Programme, using resources from the national health budget, multi-donor budget support and other grants to assist Ghana in its goal at reducing the malaria disease burden by 75 percent by the year 2015.
The beneficiary districts are: Savelugu/Nanton, Tolon/Kumbungu, East and West Mamprusi, Karaga, Gushiegu, Bunkprugu/Yunyoo, Chereponi and Saboba. In addition, the residual spraying exercise also protected more than 840,000 residents and provided seasonal employment to 1038 people. This was made known when, Mr Donald Teitelbaum, the US Ambassador, paid a days working visit to Nanton, in the Savelugu/Nanton district, one of the areas with a high incidence of malaria, to see some of the malaria interventions been carried out in the area to help reduce malaria.
Ambassador Teitelbaum said the US government was providing technical assistance and life-saving commodities through the PMI, an interagency initiative, led by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented together with the Centres for disease control to support Ghana's national strategy on malaria reduction.
He said highlights of the PMI contributions to the project included: the donation of 2,304,000 Insecticide-treated-Mosquito Nets (ITNs) to Ghana, the introduction of Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS), which has provided major support to Ghana's first -scale, public sector IRS operation since the 1960s.
He said over the past two years, PMI had trained and supported over 4,600 health workers to prevent malaria in pregnancy, while under the malaria case management, the PMI provided technical assistance and financial support to train over 4800 health workers in malaria diagnostics.
It also distributed diagnostic equipment and procured over 1.1 million doses of artesunate-amodiaquine for malaria treatment.
Ambassador Teitelbaum said the 2008 Demographic Health Survey (DHS) indicated that Ghana had reduced child mortality by 30 percent over the five years and attributed this achievement to the malaria prevention and control efforts being undertaken by the PMI.
He noted that ITN use among children had also increased from four percent to 28 percent and uptake of malaria prevention in pregnancy increased from one percent to 41 percent.
He commended all the partners for the achievements, but noted that, achieving the aggressive malaria control targets required a sustained and intensive collaborative effort.