As part of activities to mark the World Malaria Day 2019, African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN) took a group of journalists from various media houses in Accra to Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), a leading bio-medical research institute in the country.
The event brought together journalists, scientists, under-graduates and post-graduate students and school pupils from the country for an insightful session on malaria research in Ghana. It also offered the journalists an opportunity to interact with researchers at the Institute and to deepen their understanding on current research initiatives towards informing policy on malaria. Journalists mentioned the event was revealing and has exposed them to new knowledge and learning on Malaria.
Addressing participants, Prof. Abraham Anang, Director of NMIMR said malaria research in the institute is focused on four main areas namely, parasitology, immunology, vaccine development, and clinical trials of drugs working together to develop effective treatment for malaria.
Prof. Anang said the fight against malaria can be won if scientists and journalists work together to create the needed public awareness on the disease. He noted that the public listen to the media most and it was important that journalists advocated and gave accurate information on malaria prevalence, prevention and treatment. Prof. Anang also encouraged the public to test for malaria before they treated for malaria.
Dr. Charity Binka, Executive Secretary of AMMREN, noted that research is needed to drive the process of finding out what is or not working in the malaria control and elimination agenda, especially in the light of the available tools being used. She also emphasised the need for each person to take up a responsibility in the prevention and treatment of Malaria. She touched on the need to change the culture of not testing for malaria by people before treating the disease.
Dr. Charity Binka also mentioned that the “Zero malaria starts with me” campaign aims to engage all members of society: political leaders who control government policy decisions and budgets; private sector companies that will benefit from a malaria free workforce; healthcare providers working towards controlling and eliminating malaria and most importantly individuals in the community affected by malaria, whose buy-in and ownership of malaria control interventions is critical to success. She noted that while funding for malaria work is a major factor in the fight against malaria, the community has a key role to play in ensuring they sleep under the nets, keep their surrounding clean and test for malaria before treatment. That way the burden of malaria can be drastically reduced even in the face of dwindling funds.
On challenges faced in malaria research and advocacy, they both mentioned funding which has reduced drastically and it was time Ghana focused on local funding in combating malaria.
There was a presentation on malaria research in Ghana by Dr. Michael Ofori. In his presentation, he mentioned mosquitoes are adapting to malaria interventions so there is a need to find effective local interventions in fighting the disease. He said to prevent malaria, it is important to reduce the vector, parasite reservoir and increase health education.
Attached are some pictures.