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Cost-effective tools needed to reverse malaria death trend – GHS


The Director General of Ghana Health Services (GHS), Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, has emphasized that cost-effective tools are needed to reverse malaria death trends in the country.

He said such measures would complement the existing interventions by the GHS in the malaria fight.

He revealed that 5.7 million malaria cases were confirmed in Ghana in 2021, with 275 deaths. This, he said, includes 1.6 million cases involving children under age five, with 125 deaths.

Speaking at the National launch of the Expansion of the Malaria Vaccine Implementation Program (MVIP) in Sunyani in the Bono Region, Dr. Kuma-Aboagye said the GHS has targeted a 90% reduction in malaria mortality and a 50% reduction in malaria incidence by 2025.

Cost-effective tools needed to reverse malaria death trend - GHS
Some eligible children waiting to be vaccinated

He emphasized that they are working to achieve the target through prevention and control interventions such as “the Mass distribution of Long-Lasting Insecticidal Nets, Indoor Residual Spraying, Larval source management, Intermittent Preventive Treatment for pregnant women, Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention, Case Management, and the latest tool on the block – Malaria Vaccine.”

Since 2019, the GHS has administered a total of 1,359,199 doses of malaria vaccines as part of the piloted MVIP.

The phased vaccination in 42 districts in seven regions is said to have recorded substantial progress toward reducing childhood morbidity and mortality.

The Director General of Ghana Health Services, Dr. Kuma-Aboagye, said: “The Service, together with the Food and Drugs Authority, through its robust pharmacovigilance system, has established that the malaria vaccine is safe, feasible to deliver and reduces deadly or severe malaria”.

He said on the evidence of the progress and the recommendations by the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) and their partners, including WHO, the MVIP has been expanded from the current 42 districts to 93 districts in Ahafo, Bono, Bono East, Central, Oti, Upper East, and Volta regions.

Cost-effective tools needed to reverse malaria death trend - GHS
Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang Manu observing the vaccination

According to the GHS, the expansion would further help in the reduction of the number of children hospitalized due to malaria and an overall decrease in children under-five deaths.

The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, who performed the launch, said eligible children would receive the malaria vaccine at 6 months, 7 months, 9 months, and 18 months.

He emphasized the need for children to receive all four doses of the malaria vaccine for the best protection while sustaining all other existing malaria interventions, such as sleeping under insecticide-treated nets.

Mr. Agyemang Manu urged all parents, relatives, caregivers, community leaders, religious leaders, and civil society organizations to ensure that all eligible children are vaccinated against the deadly childhood disease.

Cost-effective tools needed to reverse malaria death trend - GHS
The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang Manu

Dr. Kuma-Aboagye further called for the support of the media and other stakeholders for a successful exercise.

He said, “It is, therefore, necessary to provide accurate information from credible sources, including the GHS and other health partners. In addition, the country relies on using your media platforms to assist in generating demand for all doses, including the 4th dose given when a child turns 18 months.”

The national launch of the expansion of the MVIP had in attendance religious leaders, students, and some health partners, including the WHO, PATH, and Gavi, among other stakeholders from the national, regional, and district levels.

The Health Minister and the Director General of the GHS also observed the vaccination of some eligible children at the launch.

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