By: Naa Betty Nelson
The United Kingdom Government has pledged to distribute 2.35 million long lasting insecticide treated bed nets worth 10 million euros to support Ghana’s National Malaria Campaign. According to UKaid, this support will be channeled through UNICEF, and is aimed at assisting the country reach its goal of reducing the burden of malaria by 75% in 2015.
Briefing the media, Stephen O’Brien, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development said through the funding, an estimated 4.7 million people are expected to benefit from the initiative, out of which 940,000 children, less than 5 years, will have access to the treated bed nets.
He stated that malaria has been identified as a leading cause of illness and death for children below 5 years in the country, adding that it accounted for 22% of fewer than 5 deaths in 2007.
He explained that the distribution of 2.35million long lasting insecticide treated bed nets would take place during the Universal Access to Bed Nets Campaign, scheduled for April/May 2011.
The initiative, according to O’Brien, was taken when the UK Minister visited the Northern Region last Tuesday, saying that “he was able to see the success of a previous distribution of bed nets in Gbugli, and met the staff and patients at a health clinic in Kumbungu, to hear the challenges they face”.
O’ Brien further noted that the Initiative’s commitment underlines the UK’s support for the efforts being made by the Government of Ghana to eliminate malaria.
He said, “restricting the spread of malaria is also a key priority for the UK Government.
I’m delighted that UKaid’s support will save the lives of an estimated 15,000 children through the ‘hang up’ campaign”.
He disclosed that UKaid currently provides 8 million euros annually as sector budget to support the Ministry’s health programme.
According to him, the organization further provided close to 10 million euros for the procurement of Emergency Obstetric equipments in support of the country’s free maternal health care policy, which was implemented in 2008.
Minister of Health, Dr. Benjamin Kumbuor, commenting on the program thanked the UK Government for her support in the country’s health sector.
He said the Ministry of Health estimates that 3 million cases of suspected malaria cases are reported each year in the public health facilities, and expressed the belief that the intervention by UKaid would help reduce malaria cases in the country.
He therefore urged other organizations to support the country in fighting against malaria.