Mr Mark Woyongo, the Upper East Regional Ministe, has said the regions efforts at reducing malaria by 75 per cent in 2015 would become a mirage if stakeholders fail to offer the needed service towards achieving the target.
He said the target was adopted by the region from the goal set by the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) to reduce the burden of malaria by 50 per cent by 2010 and 75 percent by 2015.
The Minister said there were still challenges in spite of the various interventions roped in against the malaria disease.
Mr Woyongo said these at a regional advocacy and planning meeting on the Universal coverage of Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLINs).
He said an estimated 500,000 bed nets were earmarked for distribution as the region takes its turn to roll on the doorâ€“to-door
distribution and hang-up of LLINs next year.
Mr Woyongo said records available on the last population census puts the regionâ€™s figures far above the number of LLINs allocated to the region and so it is estimated that on the average two people could share one LLIN.
The campaign is expected to increase ownership and effective utilization of LLINs for all household members.
He said the campaign would increase retention of the LLINs in households and create opportunity for one-on-one interaction for
behavior change communication (BCC) on net use and health messages through volunteers and supervisors.
He said the region in 2008, 2009 and 2010 recorded 454,257,645,379 and 709,877 malaria cases at the Out Patientsâ€™ Departments (OPD), representing 53.3, 56.5 and 53.2 per cent. The mid-year report from the same outfit for 2011 recorded 277.022 cases of malaria representing 43.4 per cent, showing reduction in malaria cases at the OPDs.
Under five malaria deaths in 2009 reduced by 10 per cent from 51.1 per cent to 41.7 per cent and 21.2 per cent by mid 2011 indicating malaria was becoming less major cause of deaths in children in the regionsâ€™ health facilities. He therefore commended health personnel and other partners for the good work done.
He said results from the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) in the region also revealed that one or more households possessed Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN), while the possession and use rate for children under five was 72.6 per cent in 2010, showing an increase. However, LLINs use among pregnant women visiting health facilities for antenatal services reduced from 59.1 per cent to 43.7 in 2009.
Dr James Akpable, Deputy Regional Director of Health in charge of Public Health urged stakeholders distributing LLINs to be vigilant and monitor the distribution when the campaign starts. GNA