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14.12.2005 General News

Media urged to play Advocacy role to promote new malaria drug

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Kumasi, Dec. 14, GNA - Dr. Kofi Asare, Ashanti Regional Director of Health Services on Wednesday called on the media to play an advocacy role in promoting the new malaria drug policy to ensure increased acceptance rate in the country. He said, this would enable Ghana benefit from the new malaria drug Artesunate Amodiaquine to reduce problems associated with malaria. Dr. Asare made the call when addressing the opening session of a day's workshop for 40 media personnel from the northern zone on the New Malaria Drug Policy in Kumasi.

The workshop was to update the knowledge of media personnel on the policy, provide a platform for discussion on how to increase and enhance media coverage on malaria in Ghana. The Ghana Sustainable Change Project (GSCP), a USAID sponsored programme organized the workshop that would also foster relationship with media groups to ensure that issues relating to health particularly malaria were properly tackled. Dr. Asare said, "If by magic the incidence of malaria infection is reduced through your reportage the economy will improve and the burden on our hospitals would also be reduced." He said malaria was the leading killer in the country claiming about 38,000 deaths a year and stressed the need for patients to utilise the new malaria drug that was more effective than Chroloquine. Dr. Asare warned against negative reportage on health issues, because most people believed media publications and broadcast that was not good for nation building.

Mr. Eddie Admazoya, Team Leader on Advocacy of the GSCP said the project was to contribute to increased health status of Ghanaians to address issues on sustainable basis. He said one of the four project goals was to strengthen the capacity of Government, decision-making and opinion leaders to advocate and support programmes and activities that impact positive behavioural change. Mr Admazoya said the change from Chloroquine to Artesunate Amodiaquine was due to the failure in treatment and gave the assurance that the combination of Artesunate and Amodiaquine would not fail patients. He said GSCP would continue to collaborate with the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), media consortium on health matters and other relevant institutions to ensure that malaria was eliminated from the society.

Miss Yaa Oforiwaa Acquah, an official of the Media Consortium said no one could underestimate the influence of the media to achieve desired goals and gave the assurance that the media was prepared to assist in advocating for the policy. She advised health personnel to deal with health matters particularly malaria in conjunction with environmental cleanliness to reduce the rate of infection in the country. Miss Acquah said the advocacy role of the media on the policy would be to convince Ghanaians on the need to patronize the new drug.