Research conducted by the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute (BNARI) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) has revealed that 25% of mosquito breeding sites in the Kwabenya area are home to Anopheles mosquitos, the main vectors of malaria.
Breeding sites around GAEC Community, Kwabenya-Musuku, Narhman (Bohye), and Kwabenya itself are among the 25% identified.
The Director of the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute (BNARI) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Dr. Michael Osae, made this known when he shared the findings with the students and teachers of GAEC Basic School at GAEC’s annual Malaria Awareness Campaign at Kwabenya in Accra.
The research exercise began on April 28, 2022, and ended on May 10, 2022, as part of the one-month-long activities that marked the 2022 edition of the Malaria Awareness Campaign, which ended on May 31, 2022, with a public lecture on “Malaria and Malaria Mosquitoes”.
According to Dr. Osae, the study shows that the residents of Kwabenya and its environs are at risk of malaria because the mosquito species identified are competent vectors of human malaria.
“The remaining 75% of breeding sites were home to Culex and Aedes mosquitoes, also known as nuisance mosquitoes, which do not transmit malaria but do transmit other diseases that are not present in the country. They can, however, transmit yellow fever,” he explained.
Dr. Osae, therefore, recommended that residents of Kwabenya desilt the gutters, spray the mosquito breeding sites to kill the mosquito larvae, and, where applicable, get rid of the mosquito breeding sites entirely.
In another study conducted by BNARI during the same period on mosquito net ownership and usage in the Kwabenya community, Dr. Osae said it was found that 51% of the people do not have treated nets and only 63% of those who do sleep under them.
“We must all change our attitude towards how we think about mosquitoes and malaria. Your treated mosquito nets are not meant to fence your hencoop; please sleep in them to prevent malaria,” he stressed.
Speaking on the theme for the campaign “Harness Innovation to Reduce Malaria Disease Burden and Save Lives,” Dr. Osae said innovations have led to the development of a World Health Organization-approved Long-Lasting Insecticide Nets, which he described as “one of the best ways of preventing malaria as the net establishes a physical and chemical barrier against mosquitoes.”
On her part, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of the Ga East Municipal Assembly, Hon. Elizabeth Kaakie Mann, said malaria remains a life-threatening disease, causing more than one million deaths each year.
She urged the public to avoid mosquito bites and reduce their risk of contracting malaria by keeping their surroundings clean and sleeping under treated mosquito nets.
“I will also recommend, especially to those who have not signed onto the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), to do so as soon as possible since the scheme provides cover for malaria services at a low cost for holders of an NHIS card,” she added.
The campaign is an annual event that is aimed at empowering communities toward malaria prevention and control and helping solve the problem of malaria through research-driven solutions.
By Exornam Awudi & Raymond K. Baxey, CPRC/CCD