The staff of AngloGold Ashanti (left) receiving their award
About 266 people died of malaria-related cases in Ghana in the first half of 2017 as compared to 696 within the same period in 2016, representing a percentage decrease of 62 percent.
From January to June 2017, the country recorded 4.6 million suspected malaria cases at the out-patient departments (OPDs), representing a 7.6 percent decrease over cases reported within the same period in 2016.
The number of malaria admissions also reduced from 176,930 in January-June 2016 to 145,986 within the same period in 2017.
Dr Keziah Malm, Acting Programme Manager, Malaria Control Programme, revealed this at the maiden Malaria Safe Awards organised by the Private Sector Malaria Prevention (PSMP) project, held in Takoradi.
The event was used to award and recognise distinguished private sector companies that have made innovative investments in malaria prevention and control activities that target employees, dependants and host communities.
The PSMP is a project of Johns Hopkins Centre for Communication Programmes in partnership with the National Malaria Prevention Programme.
Dr Keziah Malm indicated that malaria is a disease that affects millions of people around the world and in Ghana, adding, “It is one of the public health threats of our time.”
She mentioned that malaria continues to have severe socio-economic impact on the populace and that it is one of the causes of household poverty because it results in absenteeism from the daily activities of productive living and income generation.
“Studies have shown that about 30 days of work in a year is lost on average due to malaria and the disease continues to prevent many school children from attending school due to illness, diminishing their capacity to realize their full potential,” she revealed.
Dr Malm disclosed that a lot of investments have been made in the control of malaria with support from the government, Global Fund and other organisations and as a result of the massive investments, incredible gains have been made over the last decade.
She added that the private sector employs over 90 percent of the country’s working population and, therefore, if the sector would lead or support the efforts of making their workforce malaria-free, then the malaria battle would be won for a huge proportion of Ghanaians.
Dr Malm called on all to support the national efforts in mobilising funds and human resources to improve the quality of services rendered in the quest to fighting malaria.
Felix Nathan Fosu, Chief of Party of the PSMP project, indicated that malaria continues to be recognised as an important element of economic development for malaria-endemic countries like Ghana because of the social and economic impact of the disease.
Companies that won the Special Malaria Safe Awards included AngloGold Ashanti Iduapreim God Mine, Golden Star Resources Limited, Zeal Environmental Technologies, Benso Oil Palm Plantation Limited and Norpalm Ghana Limited.
The other category, which is the Malaria Control Activities Recognition Award, was won by GoldFields Ghana Limited and Ghana Rubber Estates Limited.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi