Noguchi recommends combined use of proven malaria interventions for elimination
Professor Abraham Kwabena Anang, the Director of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) on Thursday, endorsed the call for the combined use of all proven malaria prevention interventions to achieve total elimination in Ghana.
He said “we are confident that using all the existing proven preventive interventions and now, the introduction of the new malaria vaccine as an added tool, we will achieve our national target of halving malaria by 2030”.
He said the call ought to be taken seriously in view of the high malaria burden both nationally and globally despite the gains made over the years. He listed key preventive interventions included as the effective use of the Long-Lasting Insecticide Bed Nets (LLINs), Indoor Residual Spraying, Intermittent Preventive Treatment, Seasonal Chemoprevention for endemic communities.
Prof. Anang made the call when journalists from the Africa Media and Malaria Network (AMMREN) paid a visit to the Institute to acquaint themselves with their operations, learn more about their achievements and challenges, and further partner with the NMIMR for effective communication of research outcomes to inform policy decisions.
He explained that the combination of the preventive interventions was crucial because the country laid within a mosquito endemic zone, therefore, no single strategy could be used to achieve the expected goal, and urged Ghanaians to make personal commitments to adhere to the use of the various malaria prevention interventions.
The visit, was also part of AMMREN’s initiative to commemorate the 2019 World Malaria Day, which was on the theme: “Zero Malaria Starts with Me,” which was a call for collective efforts to address the high burden of the disease among communities.
Prof. Anang thanked the Media Network for the initiative, and said the Institute had over the past 40 years, delivered effectively on its mandate of research, training and expansion, successfully completed many developmental projects and initiated others in collaboration with its key partners, stakeholders, collaborators and funders, to enhance its ability tackle the health research priorities of the country.
“We have achieved several breakthroughs in malaria control through our diverse research activities leading to the current reduction in related deaths and new infections, especially among pregnant women and children, as well as provided empirical evidence to change the country’s drug policy from treatment with Chloroquine, to the introduction of the Artemicinin-based medications,” he said.
The Director stressed on the crucial role of research in the malaria eradication efforts of the country, and urged the government and the private sector to improve funding towards this key area, citing the negative impact of the disease, which included the socio-economic due to loss of productivity, and also the pressure it puts on health systems.
Prof. Anang said NMIMR was currently partnering with the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to introduce a new malaria prevention intervention tool known as larveciding, which involved scientifically getting rid of baby larvae so the female anopheles mosquito being the vector, would have no opportunity to infect humans.
He said there was the need to adhere to the treatment protocol of Testing, Treatment and Tracking of malaria to prevent drug resistance, saying, the Institute had been testing all the Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kits and certifying them for testing for malaria.
Dr Charity Binka, the Executive Secretary of the Africa Media and Malaria Network, said the partnership between the media and the Institute was very important to promote their research activities through their respective publications, but wanted to know what was being done wrongly to account for the huge disease burden despite the numerous interventions available.
She urged journalists to initiate stronger conversations to push the government to increase research funding it Ghana to win the fight against malaria.
The Journalists toured the facilities of the Institute including the Vestergaard/NMIMR Vector laboratory where susceptible and resistance mosquitoes are raised for testing of the Permanent bed nets. GNA