IDAY Ghana is embarking on a robust campaign to promote the Artemisia plant to augment Ghana's anti malaria drive.
The campaign primarily seeks to eradicate the malaria parasite in Ghana through the localisation of the Artemisia plant which medicinal qualities would be readily available and affordable for even low income households to treat malaria.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) after the launch of the campaign at the Tema Community Seven Number One Basic School, Mr Richard Matey, resource person for the campaign, said, "In every two minutes, three out of every five children could die from malaria, so we deem it very important to grow Artemisia so we can help address the challenges of malaria.
” Mr Matey informed that the campaign targeted schools “because we want the children to know about Artemisia, know how to grow and process them, that they can use it to prevent malaria and then we can save the lives of our children.
Matey, who was also the Executive Director of Alliance for Empowering Rural Communities (AERC), asked government to inculcate the growing of Artemisia in schools to address child mortality through malaria.
He also charged pharmaceutical companies to support local farmers to produce large quantities of the plant needed for the production of anti-malaria drugs which would go a long way to boost local agriculture and the economy.
Matey observed that even though the qualities of Artemisia were enormous, much awareness had not been made on it in Ghana, hinting that the plant could repel insects and prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
He said when growing Artemisia, one must ensure that the right weather conditions were present, adding, “The plant does not like a lot of water so should not be planted during the rainy season.
It must be transplanted in the night so that it does not receive transplanting shock from the sun; one also needs the right amount of the sandy loam soil which has a very porous texture and will allow water to drain through easily.
" Artemisia originated from Asia and South America and has over four hundred species.
It is a medicinal plant with an active chemical component called Artemisinin used by pharmaceutical companies to manufacture anti malaria drugs.
Artemisia extracts can also cure bacteria and fungi infections, loss of appetite, abdominal crumps, cold, etc.
IDAY Ghana, is a coalition of 31 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) including Dream Hands, Abibiman Foundation, Abibinsroma Foundation, and AERC.
Activities undertaken by the coalition included a forum to educate the pupils of basic schools on the benefits of Artemisia and how to plant the herb.