Malaria has been a major cause of poverty and low productivity accounting for about 32.5 percent of all OPD attendances and 48.8 percent of under five years admissions in the country. (NMCP annual report, 2009)
The attempt to control malaria in Ghana began in the 1950s. It was aimed at reducing the malaria disease burden till its no longer of public health significance. It was also recognized that malaria cannot be controlled by the health sector alone therefore multiple strategies were being pursued with other health related sectors. In view of this, interventions were put in place to help in the control of the deadly disease. Some of the interventions applied at the time included residual insecticide application against adult mosquitoes, mass chemoprophylaxis with Pyrimethamine medicated salt and improvement of drainage system. But malaria continued to be the leading cause of morbidity (illness) in the country.
Ghana then committed itself to the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) initiative in 1999 and developed a strategic framework to guide its implementation. Overall, the Ghana RBM emphasizes the strengthening of health services through multi and inter-sectoral partnerships and making treatment and prevention strategies more widely available. The goal was to reduce malaria specific morbidity and mortality by 50% by the year 2010. To achieve the goal, four main strategies were being pursued.
These were to:
Though Ghana has been making progress implementing its National Malaria Control
Programme, there are still gaps in achieving the targets in the previous plan. Lessons learnt from the implementation of the previous strategic plan have informed it current strategies.
Ghana is now implementing a malaria control programme with a goal that generally aims at reducing death and illness due to the malaria disease by 75% by the year 2015 in line with the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This goal is to be achieved through overall health sector development, improved strategic investments in malaria control, and increased coverage towards universal access to malaria treatment and prevention interventions.