World Malaria Day Observed in UCC

The Department of Entomology and the Ghana Science Association, Cape Coast Branch, have organised a lecture on campus to commemorate the 2016 World Malaria Day Celebration on the theme “End Malaria for Good”. Speakers at the function admitted that globally there have been a decrease in the incidence of malaria, however, a lot of effort can be made to totally eradicate the disease.

Speaking on the topic “Malaria Control in Troubled Environment” the Dean of the School of Physical Sciences, Prof. David Kofi Essumang advocated for the need to tackle the environmental factors that contribute to the spread of malaria in Ghana. He expressed worry that there was no environmental component in the National Malaria Programme in Ghana. The current malaria policy- in Ghana focuses on improving multiple prevention, improving access to prompt and effective treatment, strengthening health systems at all levels, distribution of treated bed net, creating and sustaining partnership, he said.

Prof. Essumang noted that poor environmental practices and indiscriminate use of pesticides have contributed largely to breeding of mosquitoes that were resistance to insecticide spray. “Mosquito breeding sites often contain dissolved plant chemicals or plant particles from which larvae may feed on”, he stressed.He recommended that environmental health officers should be given their right role with the needed support. He further indicated that environmental education should be intensified and also incorporated properly in the Ghanaian educational system.

Making a presentation on the topic “Global malaria reduction: What is the situation in Cape Coast? The experience of UCC Hospital” a senior medical officer at the University of Cape Coast Hospital, Dr. James Prah said malaria control required an integrated approach, including prevention and prompt treatment with effective antimalarial drugs. He noted that a number of factors have contributed to the decline of malaria. He said some of the factors contributing to the decline include the policy to test suspected malaria cases, effective use of anti-malaria drugs, campaign by Ministry of Health on the use of insecticide treated net (ITN) and indoor residual spraying. He reported that from 2011-2015, cases of malaria continue to decrease at the UCC Hospital adding that “malaria death in UCC Hospital has also reduced to zero in 2015.”

Dr. Prah called for more education in the use of ITN and proper record keeping and reportage of suspected cases of malaria.

A lecturer at the Department of Entomology and Wildlife, Dr. Andreas A. Kudom, who spoke on “End Malaria for Good: Is Ghana Ready?” pointed out that the devastating effect of malaria has not been overhyped noting that “malarial is a real problem that needs serious attention.” He noted that countries that have successfully eradicated malaria did so through the commitment of their leaders. He recommended the criminalization of mosquito breeding in Ghana and enforcement of public health laws.

The function was chaired by  Prof. Kobina Yankson, a former Pro-Vice-Chancellor of UCC. Other dignitaries at the function were the Provost, College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, Prof. Samuel Yeboah Mensah; Head, Department of Entomology and Wildlife, Prof. B. A. Mensah; President, Ghana Science Association (Cape Coast Branch), Dr. Victor Y. A. Barku