Residents in some mosquito endemic areas have adopted pragmatic measures to minimise the increase in malaria from mosquito bites.
While the treated mosquito nets regularly distributed by the health authorities have become common and popular among the society, a big section of the society has chosen to deal with the breeding grounds of mosquitoes by resorting to regular clean-up exercises to rid their communities of filth and stagnant water.
Persistently bothered by mosquitoes due to their closeness to the conducive breeding grounds for the insects, residents of Glefe, Chemuena, Opetekwei, Gbegbeyise, Shiabu, Livingstone and Ebenezer Down, all at Dansoman, and Osu, Olympia, La Trade Fair Gardens and Teshie Maamli along the coast towards Tema from Accra are now adopting ways of minimising the impact of mosquitoes on their lives.
For instance, the residents of Dansoman have always been at the mercy of mosquitoes due to the favourable breeding conditions along the drain separating the Gyatakpor Lagoon and the Panbros Salt Industries, a lagoon downstream, as pools of stagnant water are formed and the drains get choked when it rains.
Though there are no records readily available about the cases of malaria reported and treated by health facilities in these coastal communities, in 2018, the country recorded about 11 million suspected malaria cases which represented about 34.5 per cent of Out Patient Department (OPD) cases. A total of 428 deaths attributable to malaria within the same year were recorded.
It is this worrying data that is pushing some residents to take more preventive measures in their individual homes though it seems it could take a while for this preventive measure to yield results.
Last weekend, the Daily Graphic visited the afore-mentioned communities at Dansoman to find out what they had been doing to contain the menace of mosquitoes as the world commemorates World Mosquito Day today.
Residents, assembly act
A resident, Ebenezer Kojo Bruce, said he had to spend more on insecticides to spray his room every night to deal with the situation.
“I feel very uncomfortable when I sleep under treated mosquito nets, so every night, I spray my room with mosquito insecticide before I go to bed,” he said.
“Occasionally, I also buy weedicides to spray the weeds so they don’t become breeding grounds for the mosquitoes,” Mr Bruce added.
Another resident, Dominic Nyarko, who has been living in the area for over a decade, said he used the fan as a means of warding off the mosquitoes.
He said he hated the smoke that emanated from mosquito coils, but made sure his children always slept under treated mosquito nets.
“It was worse in the past, but now we have taken these measures to prevent mosquitoes bites, but that has not solved the problem,” he said.
Another resident, who refused to disclose her name, said the individual efforts were not enough as the lack of cooperation from the total community was yielding little result.
“We have been made aware so we try to keep our environment clean and now we use the treated mosquito nets as well, however, there are others who are still not bothered and add up to the poor conditions that are breeding grounds for mosquitoes”.
The Assemblyman for the Opetekwei Electoral Area, where these communities are located, Mr Andrews Kweku Samini, admitted that “there are issues of mosquito invasion in the area, and the assembly is doing its best to control the situation”.
“My assembly reached an agreement with the Panbros Salt Industries to clear the gutters yearly because in the absence of that, the choked gutters would perpetually breed mosquitoes,” he said.
“We also contracted Zoomlion Ghana Limited to assist in spraying and we have done that about three times and hope to do it more often,” he explained.
Despite the awareness and efforts by some residents to deal with the situation, the assemblyman said others were yet to buy into the idea.
One community, two pictures
On a cursory tour of the community, a picture of two tales within the same community was painted.
While some areas were clean and looked well-maintained by the residents, it was different elsewhere.
For instance, the drain from the Gyatakpor Lagoon through Opeitekwei to Tunga, Otordjor and Panbros had been blocked by weeds, with some portions heavily choked.
Some parts of the community, specifically the Exhibition and Ebenezer Down were, however, relatively neat.