Malaria Prevalence Declines Among Ghanaian Children

The prevalence of malaria is declining among children age six to 59 months, according to the newly released 2019 Ghana Malaria Indicator Survey (GMIS).

The 2019 GMIS which is the second survey implemented in Ghana showed that malaria has declined from 27% in 2014 to 14% in 2019 among the age group.

The survey results, released today in a virtual dissemination webinar organised by the Ghana Statistical Service and the National Malaria Control Programme, however, highlighted a three times higher malaria prevalence among rural children (20%) than urban children (6%).

By region, the survey showed that malaria prevalence was low in Greater Accra region (2%) and as high as 27% in Western region.

“The results of the 2019 Ghana MIS will be used by the Government of Ghana and the Ministry of Health to inform priorities and strategies for malaria prevention and its eventual elimination,” says Peter Takyi Peprah, a Presenter from GSS.

The findings of the GMIS also highlighted that prior gains in household ownership and use of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) have sustained since the 2016 GMIS.

“Three in four Ghanaian households own at least one ITN, and half of households have at least one ITN for every two people who stayed in the household the night before the survey.

Over half (54%) of children under 5 and 49% of pregnant women age 15-49 slept under an ITN the night before the survey. ITN use among children under 5 and pregnant women has stagnated since 2016,” it said.

Among women age 15-49 who have heard of malaria, it indicated that 59% have seen or heard a malaria message in the six months before the survey.

“One in three women have heard about the malaria vaccine, and 9 in 10 women would allow their child to be vaccinated against malaria,” it added.

The 2019 GMIS was conducted between September and November 2019 at the peak of malaria season with all children age 6-59 months living in selected households eligible for anaemia and malaria testing.

Ghana created 6 new regions; however, the new administrative boundaries were not available during survey design of the 2019 GMIS.

A total of 5,181 women age 15-49 were interviewed, representing a response rate of 99%.

The 2019 GMIS was implemented by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) in close collaboration with the Ghana National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) and the National Public Health Reference laboratory (NPHRL) of the Ghana Health Service (GHS).

Financial support for the survey was provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and the Government of Ghana.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri

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