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14.10.2008 Health

Medic: Base malaria treatment on thorough examination


Dr Constance Bart-Plange, National Malaria Control Programme Manager, on Tuesday expressed worry over the disregard for thorough medical examination in malaria treatment in the country.

She reminded medical professionals that symptoms alone were not enough to detect a disease and called for critical examination before any treatment.

"This practice of mistaking some other symptoms for malaria has resulted in some deaths, because people have been given a different treatment for another illness," she observed.

Dr Bart- Plange was speaking to newsmen after the opening of the Third Annual International Conference of the VOICES for Malaria-free Future Project in Accra.

The four-day conference under the theme: "Consolidating Advocacy Investment to Date-Malaria Advocacy" is aimed at building consensus on successes and harmonising effective malaria advocacy approaches across continents.

Opening the conference, Dr Gladys Ashitey, Deputy Minister of Health, said government had positioned itself to chalk gains from the Global Malaria Action Plan (GMAP) to move Ghana's malaria campaign from a control phase to elimination.

World political leaders and philanthropists at the United Nations High-level Meeting in New York made a pledge on September 25, to commit three billion dollars to among other interventions reduce malaria deaths to near zero by 2015 in the globe.

Dr Ashitey stressed that malaria was a complex problem that needed all hands on deck to eradicate, saying that as a result Ghana had intensified its advocacy campaign to motivate all stakeholders on board.

She also said the country hoped to achieve 80 per cent coverage of the usage of insecticide treated nets, Intermittent Preventive Treatment for expectant mothers and Artemisinin-based combination medicines by 2015.

The Deputy Minister called for greater political commitment and accountability to attract more resources, shape policy and remove barriers hindering effective application of tested, preventive and treatment tools.

Dr Matthew Lynch, Global Director of Johns Hopkins University Centre for Communications Programmes, sponsors of the VOICES Project, observed that funding was no longer a major constraint to the fight against malaria as a result of new GMAP.

Mr Daniel Kertesz, World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative, in a statement read on his behalf, called for a sound strategy through traditional and modern channels to get the public more concerned with malaria control.