14.06.2005 Regional News

Obuasi records increase in malaria cases

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Obuasi, (ASH) June 14, GNA - A total of 96,371 cases of malaria were reported in health institutions in the Obuasi municipality last year. The figure represented 47.9 per cent of all reported diseases during the period.

Mr Clement Nti-Boateng, the Municipal Disease Control Officer, who disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency at Obuasi on Monday, added that the first quarter of this year had already recorded 22,184 malaria cases. "Malaria is indeed a worrying disease, especially among children under five years and pregnant women", he said.

Mr Nti-Boateng said out of a total of 5,258 deliveries recorded in 2004, 36 per cent of the pregnant women were treated for malaria before delivery. He expressed concern about the way malaria was contributing to the anaemic conditions of pregnant women in the municipality. "For pregnant women, who reported at the antenatal clinic of the Obuasi Government Hospital for the first visit, 12 per cent had haemoglobin levels less than 11 milligrams, a situation which is unacceptable for pregnant women", he added.

Mr Nti-Boateng added that within the first three months of this year, still births represented 3.1 per cent of all children born in the municipality and attributed this to anaemia arising out of malaria. The Municipal Disease Control Officer also hinted that malaria was contributing to under-weight in new babies, adding, "11.2 per cent of all children born in the first quarter of the year have birth weight of less than 2.5 kilogrammes." He announced that the Municipal Health Administration was deeply involved in a comprehensive malaria control programme with AngloGold Ashanti and the Obuasi Municipal Assembly, including other stakeholders to check the high incidence of malaria in the area.

Mr Nti-Boateng said the programme sought to provide education and spraying of the immediate environment as well as the training of personnel to give adequate treatment. The effective use of insecticide nets by the larger population, especially pregnant women and children under five years was also being promoted under the programme. He added that the municipal health administration was incorporating a new programme to the already collaborative initiative that would provide treatment and preventive treatment for pregnant women before delivery.

Under the programme, pregnant women attending the maternity services would be given three times anti-malaria drug which is a single dose "to bring down incidence and effects of malaria among pregnant women and their new borns", he said.

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