A four-month malaria microscopy training programme for medical laboratory assistant in the country was launched on Thursday, at the Kintampo Health Research Training Center (KHRC) in the Brong-Ahafo Region.
About 330 medical laboratory assistants across the country are expected to benefit from the training, being organised by the KHRC, in collaboration with the Ghana Association of Biomedical Laboratory Scientists (GABMLS).
It is sponsored by the Skill Development Fund (SDF) of the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET), and seeks to improve skills of participants in malaria diagnosis using microscopy.
The participants will be in a better position to detect malaria parasites; identify types of species causing malaria infection; and be able to count how many parasites are in the blood.
Twenty participants are expected to undergo the training every week which is being conducted at the WHO Center of Excellence in Malaria Microscopy at the Research Center every week.
“This is an important step in the fight against malaria by improving diagnosis, treatment and management,” Dr David Dosoo, Head of Laboratory at the KHRC said.
He said the effective method to control malaria was ensuring that people were tested and proved positive before they are put on anti-malarial treatment drugs.
According to Dr Seth Owusu-Agyei, Director of the KHRC, though Ghana had made a headway in controlling malaria, the skill of medical laboratory assistants ought to be improved to enable them to get excellent and quality results.
He said about 20 per cent of people in rural and 50 per cent of those in urban areas carried the malaria parasites.
On the Malaria Vaccine clinical trials, Dr Kwaku Poku Asante, Head of Research at the KHRC, said a malaria vaccine would be available by 2016.
He said the vaccine had been tested on about 15,000 children from 11 different areas in Africa and indicating it had proved efficacious.
Dr Asante stated that results of the vaccine had been submitted to six various regulatory organisations for examination and the outcome would be available soon.
On other issues, Dr Asante told newsmen the research center carried activities based on demographic health surveillance system adding the center was researching into diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
He explained that the center had made headway in reproductive health – ways of preventing bleeding among pregnant women after delivery as that was the major cause of maternal mortality.
Dr Ebenezer Appiah Denkyira, Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) called on Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to easily release funds to support disease control in their areas.
He said the fight especially against malaria and other communicable diseases required commitment from assemblies, traditional rulers and the general public.
Dr Denkyira noted that malaria was the leading cause of deaths among children and efforts to eliminate the disease would be in vain if the responsibility was shouldered by only the GHS.
Mr Prince Amuzu, President of the GABMLS said effective collaboration was required from various health professionals in disease control. GNA