Agribusiness in Ghana is being challenged, as productive workforce are being lost through malaria infections. Research has indicated that the country lost two million, seven hundred and fifty-seven thousand, four hundred and thirty-three Ghana Cedis (equivalent of USD 575,144) in the agricultural sector, to malaria.
Out of this, 80 percent was spent on treatment for employees on the sector.
It further people in malaria endemic regions, could experience malaria episodes in approximately five times a year. The implication of which results in time lost tending crops during critical periods in the agricultural cycle, and a rippling effect on income losses.
Consequently, these farmers would have to deal with the problem of fending for themselves and their families.
In another worrying fact, malaria- inflicted smallholders lose up to 22 days work through the illness and barbers only 40 percent of their crops.
On this background, the Private Sector Malaria Prevention (PSMP) project of John’s Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, with funding from UK-DFID, have embarked on a regional stakeholders’ workshop to discuss innovative approaches to reduce the burden of malaria on farmers and agribusiness. The workshops are being organised in the month of December in collaboration with the Regional Directorates of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in six regions; Ashanti Brong Ahafo, Central, Eastern, Northern and Western Region.
In his presentation at workshop held in Takoradi on Tuesday 11 December, 2018, Program Officer for PSMP, Eli Segbefia noted that malaria is iggesr cause of mortality and morbidity in Ghana, with a 38 percent of chronic outpatient cases recorded in Ghana.
He indicated that the Western Region ranks 5th (24%) in terms of regional statistics of malaria infections, mortality and morbidity in Ghana. Eastern region is however ranked as the most affect region with a 31 percent rate, followed by the Central Region with a 30 percent rate.
It has been established that certain agricultural practices predispose farmers and their families to malaria. Among these practices are irrigation systems and water reservoirs constructed in farmlands, which serve as breeding grounds for the female anopheles mosquito.
With the implementation of government’s agricultural programmes such as the Planting g for Foods and Jobs, and the One District one For, a more rigourous approach to malaria prevention is required.
Usage of Insecticides Treated Nets
Several treatment and preventive mechanisms has been developed to curb malaria infection. These include; Insecticides Treated Nets (ITN), Mosquitoes coils and other chemicals among others.
However, in a 2017 World Malaria Report, ITN is said to be the most effective approach to Malaria prevention, as it reduces incidence of malaria infections by 50 percent (Globally).
Malaria mortality in children under 5 years on the otherhand, globally, was reduced by 55 percent.
Mr Segbefia revealed that an amount of GHC 100 was spent avegeraly by an individual in treating a single instance not malaria infection, whiles GHC 25 only, was spend on prevention through the ulitisation of ITNs.
Mr Eli Segbefia clarified that some trials on the vaccines are still underway. He however emphasised that such trials often require much time to validate results for their usage in humans.
He is however expressed optimism with having these vaccines produced in the shortest possible future.
Abraham Mensah | Spicefmonline.com | Ghana