Ghana commemorated World Malaria Day on 25th April, 2022 under the theme “Advance equity. Build resilience. End Malaria”. This year’s theme is to help raise awareness of the urgent need for action and targeted scale-up of existing and new tool, such as new LLINs and the RTS, S Vaccine, as well as data-led strategies and increase investment in the research and development of transformative tool in the pipeline.
These approaches will help countries rapidly drive down malaria cases and deaths and save millions lives from the preventable disease that kills a child every minute.
The Ashanti Regional Health Director, Dr. Emmanuel Tenkorang on the commemoration disclosed that the region has made significant progress in the fight against malaria over the past decades as evidence shows the number of OPD Malaria cases as pregnant women has reduced from 66269 in 2020 to 60845 in 2021, and the percentage of pregnant women taking IPT has increased from 42.6% in 2020 to 51.2 in 2021.
He again added that, Malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum in pregnancy can result in adverse maternal and and fatal sequelae and these women are at increased risk of maternal anaemia, placental malaria and deaths. However, stillbirth, premature birth, intra-uterine growth restriction and low-birth weight are poor fetal/newborn pregnancy outcomes.
Dr. Tenkorang then asserted that because of changes in women immune systems during pregnancy and the presence of a new organ (the placenta) with new places to parasites to bind, pregnant women lose some of their immunity to malaria infection.
He finally advised pregnant women in the region and Ghana in general especially those in high transmission areas to frequently go for antenatal to receive sulfadoxine -pyrimethamine for intermittent preventive treatment of malaria (IPTp), use of insecticide-treated bed nets and go for diagnosis and treatment whenever necessary.
Ghana accounts for 2.1% and 1.9% of the global malaria cases and deaths, making it one of the top 10 malaria burden countries in the world.
Source: MyGhanaMedia.com / Isaac Owusu