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12.10.2005 General News

C19bn released to treat malaria in Brong-Ahafo

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Sunyani(B/A), Oct.12, GNA - The Government has released 19 billion cedis to the Brong-Ahafo Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to cope with the shift policy on anti-malaria and malaria case management.

Dr. George Osei Bonsu, Acting Brong-Ahafo Regional Director of GHS, announced this at the opening of a three-day training of of trainers workshop for 40 participants on the new anti-malaria drug and case management policy guidelines in Sunyani.

It was jointly organised by the Ministry of Health, GHS and the National Malaria Control Programme and funded by the Global Fund and World Health Organisation. Participants were from health institutions in Asunafo South, Asutifi, Tano North and South, Sunyani, Berekum, Dormaa, Jaman North and South districts.

Others were, six medical practitioners from the Regional Hospital, pharmacists and a representative from the Ghana News Agency.

Dr. Osei Bonsu who is also the Regional Senior Medical Officer in-charge of Public Health explained that the shift had become imperative in view of the high rate of treatment failure in malaria case management and emerging promising results from malaria case management with certain cost effective drugs.

Dr. Osei Bonsu said the overview of global malaria burden indicated that children under five years and pregnant women were the main vulnerable groups.

He said about one million people died each year through malaria due to lack of access to health care, life saving drugs and insecticides. The Acting Regional Director said the burden of malaria in Ghana revealed that 7,500 malaria cases were reported every day at health institutions in the country while 40,000 deaths were reported annually with 45 of them being children under five years.

Dr. Osei Bonsu said global movement support for local initiative to tackle roll-back malaria begun in 1998 with the expectation that by 2010 there should be reduction in malaria cases in Africa by 50 per cent. He said Ghana chose Artesunate plus Amoadiaquine as a substitute for Chroloquine in the treatment of malaria because of the efficacy, availability and affordability of the two combined drugs stressing that the two drugs had 97 per cent efficacy.

Dr. Osei Bonsu said the Region would start prescribing Artesunate plus Amoadiaquine for the treatment of malaria cases from next January, and urged participants to be prepared to take the challenge as trainers from various districts to make the policy feasible. He said even though the 19 billion cedis released to the Region for the take off of the policy was more than the previous budget of 500 million cedis for the region in health delivery, it was far better to switch from less effective and cheap Chloroquine to powerful Artesunate/Amoadiaquine to avoid deaths especially among children and pregnant women.

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