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IRIN PlusNews HIV/AIDS News and information service | West Africa | GHANA: Global Fund urges wider use of impregnated mosquito nets | | News Items
Tuesday 1 November 2005
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GHANA: Global Fund urges wider use of impregnated mosquito nets


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]



©  UNICEF

The Global Fund wants Ghanaians using more mosquito nets

ACCRA, 5 August (PLUSNEWS) - Ghana lags behind most of Africa when it comes to using insecticide-treated malaria nets and the government needs to go on an offensive to promote them, the head of the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria said on Thursday.

Just three percent of the Ghanaian population string up the treated nets over their beds, whereas the average in most African countries is between 25 and 40 percent.

And there is an even bigger mountain to climb if the West African nation is to meet the Roll Back Malaria campaign target of 60 percent coverage by 2005.

"There is still the need for progress in the use of insecticide-treated nets to reach the level that is obtained in other African countries," Richard Feachem, executive director of the Global Fund, told a press conference in the capital Accra at the end of a three-day visit to Ghana.

Malaria accounts for over 40 percent of cases at Ghanaian outpatient departments, hitting pregnant women and children under the five the hardest, according to government statistics.

More than three million Ghanaians catch the life-threatening parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitoes every year and 16,000 children are killed by it.

Most malaria-carrying mosquitoes bite at night and a net treated with insecticide and hung over a bed is one of the best ways to avoid catching the disease, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says. But people can be sceptical of the nets and often they are too expensive for the families most at risk of malaria, who are among the poorest in the world.

In Ghana, the Health Ministry is currently offering a 60 percent discount on insecticide treated nets for all pregnant or nursing mothers, but some recipients say much more should be done to control the spread of malaria.

"It is good they are helping us to contain this disease," said Esther Adjei, a new mother at the Military Hospital in Accra. "But I believe this must go hand in hand with education on how to keep our surroundings clean. Without that, all the money spent, will go down the drain since mosquitoes grow in unhealthy environments."

Since 2002, the Global Fund has pledged a total of US$ 68.1 million to help Ghana fight three of the world's most deadly diseases. Malaria accounts for more than two thirds of these funds -- $48.2 million.

The Global Fund has committed a further $14.2 million to fighting AIDS in Ghana, where 3.6 percent of the population is HIV positive. That rises to 8.5 percent in some parts of the country.

About 50,000 people living with AIDS in Ghana need anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment to help improve their quality of life and prolong their survival, but at present only about 1,000 use the drugs.

Ghana has said it will use the Global Fund AIDS grant to build 16 voluntary testing and counselling centres, provide mother to child transmission prevention services to 600 mothers per year, and begin antiretroviral therapy for a further 2,000 people living with HIV/AIDS.

The $5.7 million allocated to fighting tuberculosis will allow Ghana to treat an additional 20,000 patients over the next two years using DOTS, the internationally approved treatment strategy.

A quarter of these patients will be treated in private health clinics in order to strengthen the capacity of the private sector to work with the public sector to fight TB.

[ENDS]




 
Recent GHANA Reports
Government ploughs ahead with plans to produce AIDS drugs locally,  31/Aug/05
AIDS treatment on rise, but stigma still around,  17/Aug/05
Single battle-plan to hit both TB and HIV/AIDS,  19/May/05
HIV-AIDS on decline for first time in 5 years, survey shows,  15/Apr/05
Local employers start to care for their HIV-positive staff,  7/Apr/05
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