The Parliamentary Select Committee on Health has cautioned the public against the use of the insecticide treated nets (mosquito nets) distributed by government, for fishing, fencing gardens, covering refuse and other unapproved uses.
It said the nets were not meant for any other use beyond warding off mosquitoes to prevent malaria.
Dr Patrick Boakye-Yiadom, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Obuasi East and Vice Chair of the Committee, warned that such unhealthy practices exposed communities and households to mosquitoes and impeded the country’s fight against malaria.
He issued the caution when the Committee and the leadership of the Central Regional Health Directorate paid a working visit to some selected schools in the Central Region to monitor and supervise the ongoing distribution of insecticide treated nets in basic schools.
The net distribution, targeting pupils from class two to six, is a major intervention of the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), seeking to eradicate the disease in Ghana.
The officials first visited the Kanaan International School and the Wawase D/A Basic School in the Twifo Hemang Lower Denkyira District and ended their tour at the Philip Quaque Girls School in the Cape Coast Metropolis.
The team, led by Dr Boakye-Yiadom, included Dr Adomako Kissi, MP for Anyaa Sowutuom; Mr Alexander Roosevelt Hottordze, MP for Central Tongu; and Madam Betty Krosbi Mensah, the Afram Plains North MP.
Dr Marion Okoh-Owusu, the Central Regional Health Director, some senior members from NMEP and other members of GHS also made up the health officials for the tour.
Dr Boakye-Yiadom indicated that the Committee, in collaboration with the GHS and the Ghana Education Service (GES), would closely monitor public activities, to ensure the nets were used appropriately to serve their purpose.
He encouraged the pupils to religiously sleep under the net to collectively help prevent malaria and ensure the continuity of their education.
He intimated that malaria was a burden on the economy, education and other sectors of development and it was prudent to strengthen efforts to eliminate it as soon as practicable.
The MP observed that Ghana had made significant strides in the fight against malaria and its burden had reduced drastically, but more needed to be done.
Dr Boakye-Yiadom said Government was spending so much to further help reduce the disease burden, especially on children and pregnant women.
He expressed the Health Committee’s resolve to support the Programme to achieve the zero-malaria vision in Ghana.
Dr Paul Boateng, the Case Management Focal Person, NMEP, observed that the distribution of nets over the years had proved very useful as it had contributed significantly to the reduction of malaria and its attendant mortalities.
He said the burden of malaria had reduced consistently, with last year’s rate being around 8.6 per cent as against around 14 per cent some four years ago, due to the various interventions and efforts made by GHS and NMEP.
“Last year, Ghana recorded a little over five million confirmed cases of malaria and 151 malaria-related deaths, but that has been an improvement on the situation over the years,” he said.
Dr Boateng said starting from next year, they would intensify actions towards eliminating malaria from Ghana by 2028 and that they should be able to eliminate malaria in at least 21 districts mainly in the Greater Accra Region.