PMI VectorLink Ghana Celebrates a Decline in Malaria Cases this World Malaria Day

PMI VectorLink Ghana Celebrates a Decline in Malaria Cases this World Malaria Day

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge frontline public health workers implementing malaria interventions across the globe due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the World Health Organization (WHO) urged countries to continue critical life-saving malaria interventions, The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) VectorLink Project in Ghana heeded the call, conducting indoor residual spraying (IRS) campaigns in 2020 and 2021 in targeted PMI districts. IRS protects people from malaria by spraying the walls and ceilings inside homes with an insecticide that kills malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

This World Malaria Day, PMI VectorLink Ghana focused on two objectives to mark the occasion: 1) work with key traditional leaders, the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP), and Ghana Health Services (GHS), to gather data on malaria case improvement in the northern region and 2), share this progress widely with local communities and government officials to encourage further progress in malaria reduction. 

The VectorLink Ghana team compiled evidence from various studies[1] conducted over the years on malaria prevalence that indicated a decline in prevalence from 48.3%[2]to 13%[3] in northern Ghana. The information was then printed on banners and donated to the palace of the Overlord, NMCP, and all offices of the regional and district health directorates to be displayed in public spaces in the IRS districts.

Each IRS district had a radio discussion where GHS reported the progress in reducing malaria against indicators specific to each respective district. District Directors of Health Services, the Disease Control, and the Health Promotion Officers in each district also participated in the radio spot. Communities were encouraged to fully participate in the various malaria interventions to further reduce malaria prevalence in their districts by accepting IRS and sleeping under insecticide-treated nets. Adopting the 2021 theme for World Malaria Day, the call to action for communities was to ensure malaria cases were reduced to the minimum with a reminder that reaching ‘Zero Malaria’ was the responsibility of everyone.

The commemoration of each World Malaria Day usually occurs during Ghana’s IRS campaign. Though the start of the 2021 IRS spray campaign was initially challenging, the VL Ghana team worked together with stakeholders to ensure a successful campaign with over 900,000 people protected against malaria.

[1] UNICEF’s Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (2011, 2016, 2019) and USAID Demographic Health Survey (2014)

[2] Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2011, UNICEF

[3] Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, 2019, UNICEF