The Ashanti Region has for the second year running not officially recorded any malaria-induced maternal death since 2019.
This is inspite of the high number of malaria cases reported at Out Patient Department (OPD) of health facilities in the region.
Last year, however, OPD attendance for malaria in Ashanti reduced by more than 300,000 from the 2019 figure of 4.4 million.
Malaria, caused by the Plasmodium falciparum, the Plasmodium Vivax and three other species of the Plasmodium. It is however transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito which are commonly bred in stagnant Waters in cans, drains among other sources around homes, offices and other settlements.
It is no secret that in Ghana, malaria, has for many years, become a posed major socio-economic challenges for national development due to the burden of the disease. The impacts have been in the areas of infant and maternal deaths and morbidity as well as in reduced productivity.
In the Ashanti region, health authorities have been struggling to contain the challenges posed by the malaria disease until in the last couple of years when the National Malaria Control Programme, NMCP has upped its crusade to subdue the disease.
And this intensified fight appears to be yielding positive results in recent years. For instance, in 2019, there were a total of four point four million OPD cases due to malaria with 79,000 admissions.
Interestingly, the two figures reduced substantially the following year as the number of malaria OPD cases came down by about 300,000 from the 2019 figure while the hospital admissions also reduced from 79,000 cases to around 62,000 cases.
Positively, during the two years running, no mother or pregnant woman lost the life through malaria.
When contacted, the Ashanti Regional Director of Health, Dr. Emmanuel Tenkorang, even though was satisfied with the gains made in the national malaria fight so far, was concerned that under five deaths rather saw a slight increase from the 2019 figure of five per every one hundred new children.
As to what is doing the trick for the protection of mothers from malaria induced deaths, at least in the last two years, Dr. Tenkorang said even though mothers’ uptake of the IPT goes down in the course of gestation, the intervention from 16 weeks during Ante Natal remain encouraging.
From the available records of the Ghana Health Service, Kumasi Metropolis, Asante Akyem South and the Bekwai Municipality recorded the highest cases of malaria during the period under review.
On the other hand, the Asokore Mampong and Sekyere Afram Plains had the least cases of malaria with the prospect of achieving even better returns this and the ensuing years. For National Malaria Control Programme to achieve its set target of substantially subduing the malaria menace, the Ashanti Region Director of Health gave the following piece of advice to everyone.
By: Nicholas Osei-Wusu.