Upper West records highest malaria cases and related deaths

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The Upper West Region recorded the highest number of malaria cases and also topped in malaria-related deaths from 2011 to 2016, according to health officials, who describe the trend as alarming and threatening.

The officials who made the revelation in Tumu during a seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) stakeholders meeting also indicated that the number of children recorded with malaria parasites was increasingly alarming.
Addressing the stakeholders, the Sissala East Municipal Disease Control Officer, Mr Saani Nyuasun, said the meeting was geared towards implementing strategies to combat malaria among children between the ages of three and five.

He said malaria cases were more common during the raining season with children being the most victims.
Relying heavily on 2011, 2014 and 2016 malaria survey results, Mr Nyauasun said the Upper West Region recorded malaria cases and deaths up to 51.2 per cent in 2011 and in 2014 it was 37.5 per cent and further went down to 21. 3 per cent in 2016.

Mr Nyuasun said the Upper West Region registered the highest number of reported cases and deaths with children under five years being at a higher risk.
The seasonal malaria chemoprevention exercise is a preventive intervention implemented by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in collaboration with its partners in 2015 in the Region.
It was to provide malaria vaccines for children between the ages of 3-5 years to prevent them from getting malaria even if they are bitten by mosquitoes.

However, he said before the Sissala East Municipality could be pronounced as malaria-free zone, it had to move to the control stage through to the pre-elimination stage then to the elimination stage and finally to the eradication stage.
Mr. Nyuasun stated that the malaria control interventions carried out by the health service were the distribution of long-lasting insecticide nets (LLINs), indoor residual spraying (IRS), intermittent preventive treatment, seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) and case management diagnosis and treatment.

He said failure to treat malaria at its early stages of development could lead to spontaneous abortions, deformities in children, cerebral malaria culminating to mental disorder and learning disabilities amongst children.
He encouraged the community to join in the ongoing campaign to combat malaria among children, particularly during the raining season in the moths of July, August, September and October.
He appealed to stakeholders to support the SMC exercise by providing resources such as funds and vehicles as well as promote other disease prevention interventions.
He was of the belief that the move could help cut down the number of malaria cases.

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