Members of Parliament from the sub-regional bloc, the West African Health Organization (WAHO) are meeting in Ghana’s capital of Accra to discuss ways to mitigate the devastating impact of malaria in the region and to fashion out strategies to roll out more programmes which will lead to its control.
The meeting comes at a crucial time especially because of the COVID- 19 pandemic which has plagued many African economies.
The Regional Parliamentarian Network for the Elimination of malaria (REPEL malaria) has the membership of the network drawn from MPs from ECOWAS Member States with interest and willingness to champion and serve as advocates for malaria control and elimination in their own countries and across the region as a whole.
ECOWAS is said to have the tenth of the global population at risk of malaria and it is home to half of all the malaria cases and deaths in the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there were 117 million malaria cases and 327,000 deaths in 2020, an increase on the numbers for 2019.
Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman Manu who is also the Chairman of the ECOWAS Health Ministers in a speech read on his behalf by Dr. Baffour Awuah (Chief programmes officer medical and dental noted, “Malaria exerts a heavy toll on households, not only in terms of pain and illness, but also, in terms of health spending, school absenteeism and reduced work output.
We have made some significant progress in reducing the disease burden in the ECOWAS region but much more needs to be done. The region has also undertaken ground-breaking studies such as those on insecticide-impregnated bed-nets and, recently, malaria vaccination, alone or in combination with seasonal malaria chemoprevention which have shaped global malaria policy and practice recommendations”.
He noted that MPs have an important voice in their constituencies and in the society as a whole because of the policies they formulate to make life better. “They make laws that ensure that the deprived and vulnerable populations have adequate access to quality care. They approve of national health budgets and loans”. He noted.
He therefore called on participants to bring their expertise to bear for onward submission to the higher authority of the regional bloc.
In attendance are, Dr Orlanda Pereira Dias, Chair of the Health Committee, HE Ambassador Prof. Sheila Tlou, ALMA Ambassador to the ECOWAS Region and Prof Stanley Okolo, Director General, WAHO.