Although malaria-related deaths have generally reduced in the last few years, the story is quite different in the Western Region, where residents are increasingly dying from the disease.
Reports from the Ghana Health Service indicate that 0.5% of all clinical deaths in the region last year was as a result of malaria.
Forty out of every hundred Out Patient Department (OPD) cases are suspected to be malaria with 20 of them being positive.
Again, 16% of admissions at the various health facilities in the region are malaria cases.
Health officials see the situation as disturbing since it negatively impacts the economic fortunes of the region.
They have therefore appealed to stakeholders and individuals to help reverse this trend by actively teaming up with them to fight the menace.
They said it is about time Western Region took the bull by the horn by fighting malaria locally to drastically reduce the infection rate, if not eradicate the disease, by the year 2025.
In their view, fighting the disease locally, and not solely depending on donor partners, will do the magic.
At this year’s World Malaria Day celebrated yesterday in the region, some health workers who spoke to the Daily Statesman mentioned galamsey operations, which result in stagnant water in uncovered pits, untidy and bushy surroundings and farming activities like rice cultivation, as some of the contributing factors that aid the breeding of mosquitoes in the region
Ellembelle District has for some time been recording the highest number of malaria cases in the Western Region, and was therefore selected as the venue for marking the Day.
Officials however say records in Ellembelle have shot up as a result of establishment of the Saint Martin’s Depore Referral Hospital at Eikwe, where patients from adjourning districts, including Jomoro and Nzema-East, are treated.
Benjamin Amihere, Western Regional Malaria Control Officer, admitted that malaria is deadly, but preventable, and therefore advised residents to always adhere to preventive measures such as tidying and spraying their environment, using mosquito repellents and nets and covering stagnant waters and potholes.
Mr. Amihere also advised all infected persons to always seek professional advice, and routinely take their drugs.
He however cautioned against self-medication, which can easily cause deaths, temporary and permanent disability and complications like kidney infection.