The Project Officer of the Anglican Diocesan Development and Relief Organisation, (ADRO), Upper West Region, Mr. Chrysostom Pwayirane has said behavioral change is the key to a malaria free society.
He expressed optimism that if community members across the Upper West Region adjusted their attitudes and tuned their minds to strictly follow the guidelines in the prevention of Malaria, the high incidence of the disease in the region would become a thing of the past.
Mr. Pwayirane cited poor sanitation choices and the refusal of some residents to stick to best malaria preventive practices as some of the reasons for the persistence of malaria in the region.
To address these situations, ADRO is running a four year Community Based Malaria Control Project in selected districts in the region to re-orient the minds of community members. At the end of the project which has already spun 12 months, it is expected that there will be a drastic reduction of malaria cases among the selected districts.
Mr. Pwayirane said although ADRO, will continue to distribute Long Lasting Insecticide Nets, (LLINs), it will focus more on behavioral change. He explained that “the malaria is persisting because of our attitude. There are certain practices you can practice at the household level or at the community level that will not even encourage the breeding of mosquitoes in your community or within your household.”
Adding that “the behavioral change that we are looking at; we get into the communities in partnership with Ghana Health Service at the district level. Then we organise activities like durbars, focus group discussions and then we let them see the burden of malaria on them and how they can easily get rid of malaria situations in their households by just taking some basic decisions in their life and sticking to them.”
The Project Officer ADRO, Mr. Pwayirane speaking to Radio Ghana in an exclusive interview at Wa in the Upper West Region was ecstatic about the reception of the traditional authorities saying “the message, they are receiving it well, especially the traditional leaders. You go to a community and have a community durbar and you could see from the elders the excitement for ADRO coming to speak to their people concerning that [malaria]. They all agree that malaria is a challenge in their communities.”
He explained that at the community durbars, ADRO shares simple practical messages with residents to help educate them on how to prevent malaria.
“Hanging of plenty clothes [in your room]. You have a bag, why don’t you put the clothes in the bag or you get a sack where after wearing your clothes you pack them into that sack instead of hanging them clumsily inside the room which allows the mosquitoes to find their way in there,” he said.
Mr. Pwayirane however, was not happy about some beneficiaries who did not use the LLINs for the right purpose saying “you go to the field and realize that someone has used the mosquito net to fence his garden and at the end of the day it is funny to note that that same person will be at a hospital trying to treat his child for malaria and then you wonder what is happening.”
The Anglican Diocesan Development and Relief Organisation ADRO is a non-governmental organization birthed by the Tamale Diocese of the Anglican Church. Working in 7 out of the ten regions, the organization focuses on Food Security and Livelihood, health, education and advocacy among others.
Story by Mark Smith