Gold Fields Ghana, in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service (GHS), has marked World Malaria Day at Hunni-Valley in the Prestea Hunni-Valley Municipal, with a durbar at the Forecourt of the Hunni-Valley Health Center.
In attendance were over 300 expectant and lactating mothers, drawn from the eight host communities of the mining company, midwives, nurses, traditional leaders, and assembly members.
Nana Ama Saarah I, Queenmother of Bompieso, Nana Ama Ampomah, Nana Theresa Hayford, Nana Akua Ayaa, Queenmother of Amoanda, and Nana Adomah Ampomah, Queenmother of Koduakrom amongst many others, were present for the day.
The theme for this year’s day was “Harness innovation to reduce the Malaria Disease burden and Save Lives.”
The Municipal Health Director, Joseph Kwame Sampson, in a short address, said Prestea Hunni-Valley had seen significant improvement in malaria related cases, both at Out Patients Department (OPDs) and on admission, while deaths had also reduced in the last five years.
The average malaria positive test rate, the Health Director disclosed, for the past three years in the Municipality was 63%, explaining that the majority of fever conditions were due to malaria.
Mentioning some of the innovations being employed in solving the problem of malaria, he said no single strategy would solve the problem, because of the complex nature of the disease, the species of the parasites, and the methods of dealing with the vector and its characteristics.
“In the light of this, we have gathered here today to remind ourselves of this deadly enemy called malaria, and to do all we can to support the global agenda of reducing its impact on lives and economies.”
He, therefore, commended Damang Gold Fileds for the gathering and continuous support in contributing to the general effort in dealing with malaria situations, especially among the most vulnerable groups (pregnant women and under age 5).
The Community Affairs Manager of the Damang Gold Fields, Abdel Razak Yakubu, described malaria as a deadly disease, for which reason, every arsenal must be marshalled to combat the disease.
In so doing, he said, Damang Gold Fields had pledged it support to fight the disease, most especially, amongst expectant and lactating women.
In 2018, the Community Affairs Manager said, the Gold Fields Foundation (GFF) distributed 300 pieces of insecticide treated mosquito nets to breastfeeding and expectant mothers within the host communities.
The exercise was to support the initiative of the Ghana Health Service in donating and encouraging the use of mosquito repellants to complement its initiative of giving out treated bed nets, and also promoting the use of nets by pregnant women in our communities.
This year, the Foundation, based on advice from the GHS, was donating and encouraging the use of mosquito bed nets by pregnant women during antenatal periods.
The Foundation, the Community Affairs Manager enumerated, would continue to support the fight against malaria in its host communities, with a behavioral change communication strategy.
This includes encouraging community members to develop the habit of sleeping under treated bed nets, and keeping their surroundings clean.
At the end of the programme, each of the 300 expectant and lactating women was given pampers, medicated soaps and treated mosquito bed nets by the mining company.
The Municipal Health Promotion Officer, Enoch Atta Aggrey, took the participants, who were mostly expectant and lactating mothers, through malaria quiz education, teaching them the signs of the illness.
Theresa Dakura, a Midwife, explained why mosquitoes preferred feeding on the blood of especially expectant mothers.
She said women produced more carbon dioxide during pregnancy and the mosquitoes preferred the accompanying odor.