The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has entreated Ghanaians and all users of insecticide mosquito nets to expose the nets to the weather under a shade for 24 hours or more before usage, to avoid any adverse body reactions.
The advice followed frequent complaints received by the Service from the general public regarding burning sensation experienced upon sleeping under the net at night, thereby discouraging people from patronizing them.
Madam Aba Baffoe-Wilmot, an Entomologist with the National Malaria Control Programme of the GHS, told a press conference in Takoradi, on Monday that more than one million pieces of mosquito nets had been procured for distribution to various households in the Western Region.
The distribution exercise would come off between Monday, May 25 and Sunday, May 31, across the region, under a mosquito net replacement campaign dubbed: “Point Distribution”.
Madam Baffoe-Wilmot noted that GHS volunteers had started registering households at the district and sub-district levels and issued coupons to registrants, adding that only persons with coupons would be provided with the nets.
She announced that two persons in each household would be given one net and, therefore, encouraged Ghanaians, especially pregnant women and children under five years, to sleep under the net to avoid mosquito bites and the danger of being infected with the malaria parasite.
She advised that the nets should be washed with mild soap and dried under a shade to avoid direct contact with the sunlight since the sun rays could destroy the chemical potency of the net.
Madam Baffoe-Wilmot stated that if the net is properly handled it could last for three years and indicated that the GHS had targeted achieving 80 per cent national usage of mosquito net and 100 per cent ownership.
She indicated that a demographic health survey conducted by the GHS last year revealed that there was only 58 per cent usage and 68 per cent ownership of mosquito nets and, therefore, called for concerted efforts by all the stakeholders to achieve the set target.
She said malaria was one of the major causes of deaths in Ghana and most reported ailment to the Out Patient Department of most health facilities across the country therefore the Service is using every possible means available to reduce the infection rate if not totally eradicating it.
“Malaria is causing financial loss to the state and individuals therefore the media and all stakeholders must support the effort of the Service to ensure the usage of the net”, she stressed.
Dr. Kofi Asemanyi-Mensah, Deputy Director of the Regional Public Health Directorate, said the GHS had tackled the malaria pandemic with much seriousness and would use every means available to reduce the disease.
“We have been undertaking case management, training of laboratory staff to effectively detect malaria parasite and provide malaria-resistant medicines to pregnant women,” he stressed.
Madam Mildred Commey with the Regional Public Health Unit disclosed that between 2010 and 2012, more than 12 million pieces of treated-insecticide mosquito nets had been distributed to the various households across the region under the National Malaria Control Programme.
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