In a report to be released this month, the Promoting Malaria Prevention and Treatment (ProMPT) Project will describe an innovative model for distributing over 12 million mosquito nets to prevent the transmission of malaria in Ghana.
In collaboration with the Ghana Health Service (GHS), and funding from the US Agency for international Development (USAID), the four year long project ensured that millions of households learned how to use nets treated with insecticide to kill mosquitoes, which can transmit malaria. The $20 million project, funded through the United States President's Malaria Initiative, was an interagency initiative led by USAID, with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a key partner.
Managed by University Research Co., LLC (URC) in collaboration with Malaria Consortium and the Population Council, ProMPT worked with the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) of the Ghana Health Service since 2009 to strengthen malaria prevention and control through a number of strategies. This included distributing nets door-to-door, increasing prevention of malaria among women during pregnancy, and improving treatment of malaria in health care facilities and communities. Community volunteers also demonstrated how to hang nets in households.
Andrew (Andy) Karas, Deputy Director of the USAID Mission in Accra, said at a meeting convened to present and discuss project achievements with partners and stakeholders this Spring: "It is a personal honor for me to celebrate the achievements that the Government of Ghana, USAID, and the PRoMPT project have made over the last four years in Ghana. And these achievements couldn't have been made without a truly collaborative effort."
Malaria Consortium's Malaria Technical Advisor Richmond Ato Selby said: "The ProMPT project's holistic approach to the implementation of activities and its effective collaboration with the NMCP, health authorities at various levels and other implementing partners, contributed immensely to the great improvements in malaria indicators as seen in the recently conducted Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS). I would recommend subsequent programs strive to emulate this concept in order to continue to achieve the impact and benefits for communities in Ghana, in both the immediate and long-term."
Malaria is one of the country's major causes of sickness and death, especially among young children. According to the GHS, malaria accounted for almost 40% of outpatient illness and over one-third of all health facility admissions in 2010. The WHO estimates total malaria-attributable child deaths at 14,000 per year in Ghana. The Ghanaian Ministry of Health aims to reduce the malaria disease burden by 75% by 2015.
In addition to hanging one net for every sleeping place, the ProMPT project worked with the GHS to strengthen the capacity of Ghana's health facilities to ensure that malaria is effectively managed, especially during pregnancy, when women are particularly vulnerable to malaria. The project led an initiative to train and provide training materials for more than 10,000 of Ghana's health workers in malaria case management and malaria in pregnancy. To date, over 21,000 health workers in over 2,000 health facilities have received a supervisory visit to help them correctly manage malaria.
The project also achieved numerous other successes, which will be documented in the forthcoming report. While the project officially closed in March, the NMCP, GHS, US Government, and NGOs such as Malaria Consortium will continue to work towards reducing the burden of malaria in Ghana.
Established in 1965, URC is a global company dedicated to improving the quality of health care, social services, and health education worldwide through programs in over 40 countries. With its non-profit affiliate, the Center for Human Services, URC is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and has more than 900 employees worldwide.