He said the re-introduction of those officers was the only way to tackle the root cause of malaria other than the current focus on treatment, which he said was not helping.
Togbe Atatim IV, Chief of Mafi Avedo, has called for the comeback of ‘door-to-door sanitation officers’ to enhance the fight against poor sanitation and reduce malaria cases.
Togbe Atatim who was speaking at the 2018 national launch of the Long Lasting Insecticide treated Nets (LLIN) mass distribution campaign at Adidome, noted that malaria placed huge socio-economic burden on the country, thus needed to be tackled at source through environmental cleanliness and elimination of the vector that caused it.
Dr Keziah Malm, Programme Manager, National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), said the programme had intensified actions to bring malaria under control through case management, indoor residual spraying and use of LLIN, and seasonal malaria chemoprevention and intermittent preventive treatment targeted at children under five and pregnant women respectively.
She said advocacy and social mobilization towards behavioural change among other interventions reduced malaria prevalence in children under five from 27 per cent in 2011 to 21 per cent in 2016.
Dr Malm added that the Programme had achieved its national target of reducing malaria-related deaths by 75 per cent from 2799 in 2012 to 603 in 2017.
She said the nationwide campaign was targeted at ensuring that 80 per cent households were covered to further reduce morbidity and mortality.
Dr Malm appealed to community leaders to mobilize people for the LLIN and sensitize them on its proper use, retention and care.
Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Minister for Health, in an address read on his behalf, said the mass distribution of LLIN was one of the strategies Ghana adopted to achieve universal coverage, which had yielded positive results over the years.
He said it was important to build on the successes under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) after the progress made under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with the Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016 by the World Health Assembly aimed at drastically lowering malaria globally in the next 15 years.
Mr Agyeman-Manu expressed uncertainty about future funding support for the programme but called on all to ensure that no deaths were recorded from the ‘preventable and treatable disease’ especially among children under five and expectant mothers.
He said though Ghana attained a new status of a lower middle income country, it was important for donor agencies to help the country sustain the programme, as measures were being put in place to ‘ensure the integrity’ of the interventions.
Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, Director-General, GHS, in a speech read on his behalf said, in a bid to achieve the strategic goal of reducing malaria burden by at least 75 per cent using its 2012 figures, the Service had implemented a number of interventions in the Ghana Strategic Plan for Malaria Control 2014-2020.
Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, the Volta Regional Minister, called for a concerted effort through efficient collaborations at the local and international levels.
He said malaria was still a huge burden in Ghana with about 38 per cent of Out-Patient Department (OPD) cases being malaria.
Dr Letsa also called for the review of the delay of the National Health Insurance tariffs which had a major impact on the quality of malaria case management in the country.
Ms Melinda Tabler-Stone, the Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy, Ghana, said the United States government through its President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) had supported Ghana for more than a decade to combat malaria and to eliminate the menace in sub Saharan Africa.
She said the partnership had yielded results with malaria deaths reducing by a half from more than 881,000 worldwide to 445,000 from 2006 to 2016.
Ms Tabler-Stone appealed that the momentum be sustained to reduce the vicious cycle of poverty malaria brought through health-care spending and decrease in productivity.
She added that research conducted by Roll Back Malaria estimated that eliminating malaria globally could produce a net economic benefit of almost $270 billion between 2016 and 2030.
This year’s exercise with funding from the United States (USAID) and other donor agencies would take place in nine regions across the country in nine months.