The Ghana Health Service (GHS) will from Wednesday, September 2, begin the testing of children in all districts of the Greater Accra Region for the prevalence of malaria parasite.
The exercise forms part of a malaria survey the GHS and its partners – the National Malaria Control programme, Kintampo and Dodowa Health Research Centre – will be conducting to provide accurate district level estimates for the prevalence of malaria in the capital.
It is also to help the health authorities determine the prevalence of different malaria parasites using light microscopy in a subset of samples collected at the district level.
The Head of Lab at the Kintampo Research Centre, David Dosoo, giving an overview of the exercise, said children between the ages of six months and 10 years in the Greater Accra Region would be tested using the malaria rapid diagnostic test (mRDT) kit.
He said in each district, three sub-districts would be selected out of which five communities would be randomly selected for the exercise.
He further noted that 20 children from each community would then be sampled for the exercise making 100 children from each sub-district and 300 from each of the 17 districts.
He explained that if the parents agreed for their child to be part of the study, the child’s temperature would be taken and less than 5uL drop of blood from the child’s finger or heel would be taken to test for the malaria parasite.
“The blood sample of every 10th child will be tested for malaria parasite species using the microscope and PCR machine at the health facility, if your child is one of such children an additional two drops of blood will be collected into a tube for the purpose,” he said.
Mr. Dosoo indicated that children who would test positive for malaria parasite would be given malaria treatment at no cost to the family, and the findings of the survey would help in decisions that benefit the entire family access to better treatment interventions for malaria.
Dr. Luiz Amoussour Gohoung, Deputy Director of Public Health, GHS, Greater Accra, speaking on behalf of the Regional Health Director, Dr. Charity Sarpong, said the survey would be conducted by 650 trained health personnel who would follow strict Covid-19 prevention protocols.
He, therefore, urged the public to be receptive to the health officers who would be coming to their homes for the exercise.
“Without participation, there cannot be results and without results we cannot make informed decisions about the health of the children,” he added.
The exercise will last till September 17, with results expected to be released by the end of the year.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri