There is a new campaign making the waves across Africa. It is known as “Zero Malaria starts with me”.
Malaria is a common illness in the country and it accounts for a high number of deaths too.
Do you know that children under five years and pregnant women are most vulnerable to malaria? It is estimated that malaria kills a child every two minutes.
That is scary. But the good news is that, there are a number of things you can do to prevent malaria because malaria is preventable.
In order to ensure that malaria is eliminated from the continent, the African Union Commission and the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership to End Malaria extended the “Zero malaria starts with me” campaign across the African continent during the 31st African Union Summit in July 2018, in support of the African Union goal to end malaria by 2030
The ‘Zero malaria starts with me’ is a pan-African movement that builds solidarity and multi-sectorial collaboration with the aim of eliminating malaria by 2030.
The Malaria Programme Officer of Speak Up Africa, Mr James Wallen, explains that the campaign is on the premise that if “each of us, whoever we are and whatever we do, assumes responsibility and steps up to take action, then this aspirational vision will become a reality”.
Therefore, as young people, it is important that you join this fight against malaria so that together, we can win and prevent needless deaths.
So as a child or young person, what can you do as an individual to prevent malaria?
The Programme Manager of the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), Dr Keziah Malm, says it is important that everyone sleeps under an insecticide-treated mosquito net every night. So appeal to your parents to get you an insecticide-treated net (ITN) to sleep under. In fact, the whole family has to sleep under ITNs.
Also, she advises that when you experience symptoms of malaria, insist that your parents or guardians make you take a rapid diagnostic test to confirm it is malaria before you begin a malarial treatment. If it is positive, make sure you take the appropriate dosage of the antimalarial and finish the course. If the test is negative, do not take an antimalarial, tell your parents to let the health practitioner conduct other tests because there are other diseases that also present as malaria.
If you live in areas where seasonal indoor spraying is organised using suitable insecticides for mosquitoes, make sure that your home is part.
Dr Malm adds that there is also what is called seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) that is carried out in certain regions of the country. The SMC is a preventive therapy for children aged three to 59 months in areas of highly seasonal transmission during the malaria season.
You can also take a cue from Miss Hanisah Iddrisu, a student of Lincoln Community School, who supported the ‘Zero malaria starts with me’ campaign by educating women and children at Accra New Town and Teshie Nungua in Accra and providing them with malaria-prevention materials.
It is necessary that you share information on how to prevent malaria with your friends and family. As you take an individual action and others also take it upon themselves to do the right thing, then we will be on the path to eliminating malaria in Africa in the near future.
More than 10 African countries, including Ghana, have launched their national campaigns. The NMCP, in collaboration with Speak Up Africa and the African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN), is leading the implementation of the campaign in Ghana.
Consequently, a National Malaria Media Coalition has been formed to advocate, report and take an active role in the “Zero malaria starts with me” movement.
So as young people, your slogan and actions from now onwards should reflect your new stance that ‘Zero malaria starts with me’.
SOURCE: GRAPHIC ONLINE