Chiefs and Opinion Leaders Trained on malaria Prevention and Control

The Anglican Diocesan Development and Relief Organisation (ADDRO) in partnership with the Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) and the USAID have trained chiefs, religious leaders and other key opinion leaders concurrently in two districts in the Upper East Region on malaria prevention and control as part of efforts to get community leadership deeply involved in reducing malaria infections in the area.

ADDRO, which is the development wing of the Anglican Communion, sourced funds from its two core donors, ERD and the USAID to undertake an anti-malaria programme known as “the American President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) or Malaria Communities Programme (MCP) as part of activities to reduce the effects of malaria in the area.

Under the programme, ADDRO is expected to ensure that there is drastic reduction of the malaria disease in the area through the distribution of Long Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLINS) and organize community education on how to control mosquitoes which are the main cause of malaria

In addition to the distribution of the nets which target children under five years and pregnant women, the organization has an obligation to train about 1000 volunteers in two districts; the Bawku West and the Garu-Tempane which are the project areas within three years.

Facilitating the workshop, the Bawku West District Officer in charge of the PMI/MCP, Mr. Ebenezer Ndebilla told the participants that they were key in ensuring that the project was successful because they wield influence in their communities.

He indicated that net use was the most effective and affordable way of preventing mosquito bites and malaria in general and said as opinion leaders in the various communities, it behoved on them to encourage their people to use the mosquito net.

Mr. Ndebilla took the participants through topics such as cost benefit and income and expenditure analyses to give an idea on how much individuals spend on non-essential needs and how they could channel some financial responsibilities to acquiring the LLINs as well as body mapping to enable the participants identify areas of the body that are prone to mosquito bites and to prevent it.

He announced to the participants that ADDRO had already distributed LLINS to beneficiaries in the Sapelliga and the Zongoire sub-districts, and said the idea in getting them involved in the project was to create rapport between they as opinion leaders on one hand and the community volunteers on the other hand, adding that the strategy adopted by ADDRO was for the volunteers to hang the nets for the beneficiaries in their rooms.

The project officer therefore entreated the participants to cooperate with the volunteers as they visit them in their homes to monitor the use of the nets.

He further entreated them to encourage pregnant women to visit health facilities for antenatal services and to complete the Intermittent Preventive Treatment (IPT) course within the pregnancy period, as well as take Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy with support from health practitioners when they had signs and symptoms of malaria.

At the end of the workshop, some of the participants who interacted with the Ghana News Agency expressed joy for the topics treated and said they had realized that they did more non-essential spending especially on alcohol at the expense of their own health and that of their families. GNA

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