The campaign to test before treating all suspected malaria cases is yielding positive results with significant decline in malaria cases in the Ho Municipal area since 2015. Figures from the Municipal Disease Control and Surveillance Unit shows that malaria cases not tested but treated went down from 52.6 per cent in 2015 to 34.3 per cent in 2016, and 25.0 per cent and 13.3 per cent in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
Untested but treated malaria cases in pregnant women also reduced from 0.9 per cent in 2017 to 0.8 per cent in 2018, with positive cases going up marginally from 18 per cent to 18.4 per cent for the same period.
The report also indicated that no child under five years had died from malaria in the past two years, after 12 died in 2015 and five in 2016. Malaria cases generally have declined in the Municipality from 39.9 per cent in 2017 to 30.8 per cent in 2018 but still remains the number one Out Patient Department (OPD) case.
Dr. Senanu Dzokoto, Ho Municipal Director of Health Services, said treating malaria without testing was against the country’s malaria management policy with focus on testing, treating and tracking, in that order, and said he was happy the situation was getting better.
He said untested but treated malaria cases in the Municipality could probably be due to “provider attitude,” with many “new” medical doctors allegedly not being conversant with malaria management in the country thus treating using clinical indications.
Dr. Dzokoto also said the attrition rate of medical doctors in the Municipality, especially the Regional Hospital, could be another major cause and called for concerted efforts from all stakeholders to address the challenge.
He said the Directorate was continuing with refresher training for new health workers to ensure that all malaria cases were tested before treated as required by the health policy.
Mr Christian Gohoho, Municipal Disease Control Officer said the decline in malaria cases was due to utilization of treated nets, occasional indoor residual spraying and preventive treatment with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine.