The more than GH¢99,000 worth of ITNs were made available through funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Department for International Development, Global Fund, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank.
Mrs. Aba Baffoe-Wilmot, a representative of NMCP who disclosed this in Sunyani said volunteers engaged for the exercise did not only distribute but also entered into the bedrooms of beneficiaries and erected the nets properly for them.
She explained that in 1998 the NMCP and its partners embarked on a similar exercise but later found that the beneficiaries did not sleep in the nets because they did not know how to hang them.
Mrs. Baffoe-Wilmot said after the Brong-Ahafo Regional Planning Meeting and launch of the ITN Hang-Up campaign said the main objective of the exercise was to bring the spread of malaria to the barest minimum.
The launch was on the theme, “achieving universal coverage with ITNs” and was attended by District and Municipal Chief Executives, traditional authorities, representatives of the GHS, transport unions, assembly members and departmental heads.
Mrs. Baffoe-Wilmot, a medical entomologist said the NMCP and the GHS had completed similar exercises in the Volta, Eastern, Western, Central and some parts of Northern regions in 2011 and that the whole country would be covered by the end of July this year.
She observed that the lack of collaboration would affect the exercise and entreated all key actors in the health sector as well as the general public and the beneficiaries to support to make the exercise successful.
Mr. Eric Opoku, Deputy Regional Minister in a key note address noted that malaria impacted negatively on Ghana’s economic development.
Notwithstanding the numerous interventions by the government and its development partners, the Deputy Regional Minister observed, malaria continued to pose a huge source of worry to the country.
“The more than 1,400 children who die every year in the country as a result of malaria is a great worry to the government”, he added.
Mr. Opoku emphasized that the contributions of the ITNs in the fight against malaria could not be overemphasized and appealed to all households to support the exercise for their well-being.
He charged Municipal and District Assemblies to support and exhibit a high level of commitment to the exercise to achieve a malaria-free region.
Timothy Letsa, Regional Director of Health Services, disclosed that one million nets would be distributed in the Region.
He said malaria killed more than HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis combined, indicating globally malaria killed about one million people each year, mainly children under five years of age.
“It is estimated that 80 per cent of malaria cases and 90 of all malaria-related deaths do occur in Africa”, Dr. Letsa stated.
He said research had established that deaths mainly occurred due to lack of geographical and financial access to health care, life saving drugs and insecticide treated nets.
Letsa said economic and social cost of malaria on the family and the nation at large could not be over-emphasized, adding it was estimated that 3,000 deaths due to malaria were recorded in the country annually.
At the regional level, Letsa said the proportion of Out Patient Department attendance due to malaria stood at 39 per cent, whilst proportions of all admissions and deaths in children aged below five years due to malaria were 20 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.