Ghana is located in western Africa, borders Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo and has been independent since 1957. Its 238 533 sq. km. territory is home to an estimated 25 million people (July 2013). Expenditures on health total 4.8% of the country’s GDP which was at an estimated $83 billion in 2012. The infant mortality rate is 39.7 deaths/1000 live births and there is a ratio of 1.1 skilled health care workers per 1000 population, which is short of the WHO Millennium Development Goal of 2.3 per 1000 population.
Malaria is prevalent in all regions of Ghana. This puts its entire population at risk throughout the year. Malaria transmission ranges from 6–7 months in the north and from 10–11 months in the forest zone. From 2008 to 2013, between 3.1 and 3.5 million cases of clinical malaria were reported in public health facilities each year. Malaria accounts for 37.5% of all outpatient visits, 36% of health centre admissions, 33.4% of all deaths in children under five years of age and 9.4% of deaths among pregnant women. WHO estimates that 14 000 children died from a malaria-attributed death in 2008.
The main malaria prevention plans operationalized on the ground in Ghana include insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs/LLINs), indoor residual spraying (IRS), intermittent preventive treatment for pregnant women (IPTp), diagnosis with rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and treatment with artemisinin-based combination therapy. With the help of partners, it is expected that Ghana can expand IRS to cover up to one quarter of the country’s districts. Once infected, case management continues to be the main strategy for controlling the infection.2
Ghana has been committed to the Roll Back Malaria Partnership since 1998.4 The Ministry of Health has complete oversight and control over policy formulation, monitoring and evaluation of programmes designed to achieve malaria prevention targets. Since then it has followed many declarations and plans including the Medium-term strategic plan for malaria control in Ghana (1998–2002, the Abuja Declaration and the Strategic plan for malaria control in Ghana 2008– 2015. Since prevention and treatment programmes have started, the mortality rate from malaria among children under five has dropped from 3.7 per 1000 population in 2002 to 1.2/1000 in 2011. There has also been a decreased prevalence in urbanized areas of 4.1% in the greater Accra area. One successful programme has subsidized the cost of treated bed-nets for malaria-vulnerable groups, which are then sold for under $2 each. This had led to a 10-fold increase of the population that is sleeping under a bed-net since 2002 and net ownership in 2003 was estimated to be at 51% of the population. Programmes implemented thus far have produced positive results in areas such as ITN ownership; however, this was still below the RBM target of 60% set for 2005.
Despite efforts to date, malaria is still the biggest cause of mortality and morbidity in Ghana, especially among children under five years, pregnant women and the poor.4 In addition to the health problems that it causes, it also has negative effects on the economy through loss of work days, with 8.4 US$ million being lost in a sample of three districts in 2003. The emergence of the P. falciparum resistance to commonly used antimalarial drugs poses a serious challenge to early diagnosis and prompt treatment.4 Factors that contribute to the continued problem of malaria are poor access to quality basic health services, a lack of health infrastructure and equipment for emergency management of the sick, limited human resource capacity, large funding gaps for the massive investment required to achieve the MDGs among other targets.
Through the Ministry of Health’s Strategic plan for malaria control in Ghana 2008–2015, it is expected that there will be improved malaria prevention, improved access to prompt and effective treatment, strengthened monitoring and evaluation and strengthened health systems at all levels.
Chronic malaria affects the intellectual capabilities and weakens the thinking faculty of children, says Mrs Rose Baalaboore, the Project Co-ordinator of Hope for Future Generations (HFFG), Ghana.Read more
GHANA has not been spared the deadly impact of malaria with 400 people having died of the disease in 2013. A total of 584 000 people died worldwide during the period, according to statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO).Read more
N2M stands for 'No 2 Malaria' and is an initiative founded by Leeni Ojaniemi in Ghana. The bracelets of N2M strive to provide safety and protection from Malaria by distributing one treated mosquito net for every bracelet purchased. no2malaria.comRead more
The Ghana Health Service, with the National Malaria Control Programme, has started the distribution of about 1.5 million insecticides treated mosquito nets throughout the Eastern Region. This exercise was to replace the expired insecticide nets distributed in 2011, under the Universal Hung-Up Project since “the lifespan of every insecticide net is three years or 20 washes from the start of its use.”Read more
The [Ghana] Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Alexander Ackon, has disclosed that the ministry would be expanding the legibility criteria of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty(LEAP), programme by adding pregnant women and infants in extreme poor households under a "LEAP 1000" initiative.Read more