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16.04.2009 Education

Schools hold inter-school drama competition on malaria eradication

By gna
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Even though stringent measures have been
put in place to control the menace of malaria, the disease still remained

a major health challenge.
Malaria is said to be gradually gaining a status of an epidemic among

the Ghanaian community and claiming the lives of mostly children under five

and pregnant women.
Mrs. Benedicta Naana Biney, Deputy Director, Ghana Education Service

(GES), said these at the opening of an inter-school drama competition on Thursday on Malaria control as part of activities marking this year's

second Malaria Day.
The Day, which falls on April 25 is set aside by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to drum home the urgent need to ensure the complete eradication of the disease is on the theme; “Counting Malaria Out”.

Experts say the malaria scourge has gone beyond the current 35 percent proportion of all diseases reported at Out Patient Departments (OPD) in

the country and urgently needed collaborative effort by all stakeholders

to totally eradicate and save the lives of pregnant women children under

five years who had been identified as the major victims.

Mrs. Biney said it was imperative that both health and education

played collaborative roles in ensuring that the youth were equipped with

the requisite knowledge and skills to deal with the subject.

In all 10 schools in the Greater Accra Region participated with

the New Achimota Presbyterian Basic schools emerging winners, followed

by the Osu Presbyterian Boys primary school while Ashaiman number three

primary school took the third position.
The winner was awarded a computer with accessories, a printer, a

trophy and books, while the second and third schools had computers and accessories each with trophies and a set of books for their schools. All participating schools were awarded with school bags, wall clocks and a set

of books each.
Mrs. Biney said pregnant women and children under the ages of five

had been the worst target of malaria and the celebrations would offer the

global community an opportunity to use innovative strategies such as dramas

and other communication methods to provide effective control methods among societies.

She cited ignorance, myths and misconceptions as unfortunate instances that still existed among most Ghanaian and other African communities about the causes of malaria, with people sometimes attributing all kinds of superstitious reasons for temperature and convulsions in children who may probably be having malaria.

“While the general society suffers from ignorance and superstition, there could be the unfortunate situation of wrong diagnosis and prescription by fake and quack medical personnel who move round the villages and sometimes even in the cities to deceive the public” she said.

She also mentioned problems such as the poor nurse-patient as well as doctor ratio, lack of immediate access to health facilities, delays in reporting cases, poor environmental sanitation, and lack of use of Insecticide Treated Bed Nets (ITBN) as causes for the amounting figures in malaria in the country.

Mrs Biney stated that the introduction of drama as an effective tool of communication had been a consensus from the GES, Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service and the National Malaria Control Programme, with sponsorship from Sanofi Adventis to harness the talents of children to be able to educate the public on the subject.

She advised parents to watch out for symptoms such as fever, headaches, vomiting, which though could also be symptoms of other illnesses

and report timely to the hospital for early treatment.

She further urged pregnant women to regularly visit antenatal

clinics for routine medical examinations, sleep under Treated Bednets with

their other children and ensure indoor residual spraying, while ensuring

quality sanitation in and around their residences.
She noted that reducing the impact of malaria would not only significantly propel efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals,

but also promote the rights and health of women and children, access to education and reduce extreme poverty.

Mrs Biney urged the youth to read extensively about the causes, prevention, case management and control of malaria.

GNA

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