ZERO CASES of malaria related deaths among children under five have been recorded in the Aowin-Suaman district in the Western region, District Director of Health Services (DDHS), Emmanuel K. Tamakloe has said.

Tamakloe revealed this when the media interacted with him during a field trip to the district to ascertain effects of the use of Long Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLINs) distributed in the community almost a year ago with support from the United Nations Children?s Fund (UNICEF).

He said statistics gathered within the first half of a three year period showed a decline in the number of children dying from malaria in the district.

?In the first half of 2010, we recorded 6 under five deaths related to malaria, in 2011 it reduced to 3 and in the first half of this year we have recorded zero cases of malaria deaths within children under five,? Tamakloe said.

According to him, malaria deaths in persons above five years had also decreased from 69 in the first half of 2010 to 16 in the first half of 2011 and 11 in the first half of 2012.

He said those who contracted the disease were also reporting to the hospital early for treatment instead of staying in their homes till the sickness became worse. This, he said had shot up the number of reported malaria cases in the district from ?31,640 reported cases in the first half of 2010 to 42,344 reported cases in the first half of 2011 and then 48,853 reported cases in the first half of 2012.?

UNICEF with funding from the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), distributed 83,000 free LLINs to residents in the district as part of interventions to move Ghana towards attaining its health-related Millennium Development Goals.

The distribution exercise, which saw 42,000 households benefiting from the project, was among other things aimed at preventing residents from contracting malaria which accounted for 11% of morbidity in pregnant women and up to 30% of morbidity in children under five.

Trained volunteers went round the communities to hang-up the nets in the sleeping places of residents starting with those with lower ownership and usage of nets.

Communications Officer of UNICEF Ghana, Evelyn Offeibea Baddoo, said five regions had so far benefited from the campaign dubbed ?LLINs Hung-Up.?

She said political support at the regional and district level had been significant to the success story of the campaign.

?The campaign has been successfully rolled out in the Upper East and Upper West, Brong Ahafo, Western and Central regions,? she said calling for continuous support from regional ministers and district chief executives in future campaigns.

Dr. Frank Abgemordzi, Medical Superintendent of the Enchi Government Hospital observed that in-patient admission of malaria cases had declined over the last few years.

He said patients were coming to the outpatient department with less complicated cases of malaria.

?Some time ago we decided to construct an additional in-patient ward because the malaria cases were overwhelming but now the ward is free because there are just a few isolated cases.?

 From Jamila Akweley Okertchiri, Aowin-Suaman

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