Embrace malaria safe initiatives at workplaces — First Lady

BY: Rebecca Quaicoe Duho
 Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo delivering her address
Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo delivering her address

The First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has called on business entities in the country to embrace malaria safe initiatives at their workplaces. She said embracing such initiatives “would go a long way to enable the private sector, donors, civil society and government to work towards a common vision of a malaria free Ghana.

”The First Lady made the call yesterday in Accra when she launched the Malaria Safe Initiative (MSI) for business entities on the theme: “Fighting Malaria for economic prosperity of Ghana.”

Initiated by the Private Sector Malaria Prevention (PSMP) Project, in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Centre for Communication Programmes and the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), with support from the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), the Malaria Safe Initiative is to support companies to increase their productivity and reduce absenteeism rates due to malaria and its related illnesses by adopting preventive methods such as the use of Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLITNs) by their workforce.

The MSI initiative

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The MSI is being implemented on a pilot basis in the Greater Accra, Ashanti and Western regions, where companies are being advised to adopt malaria safe actions which have been categorised into four pillars: protection, education, visibility and championing.

Mrs Akufo-Addo, who is also the Executive Director of Infanta Malaria, a malaria support non-governmental organisation, said “today, as we progress towards economic growth and quality development, private sector participation in malaria prevention is a sure way of supporting the government in sustaining health, and therefore promoting wealth.”

She said the Roll Back Malaria Initiative, which was launched some years ago, had helped the country to gain more access to malaria prevention interventions, specifically in the area of insecticide treated nets (ITNs).

She added that ITNs had been proven to increase productivity, encourage market expansion and boost household spending.

“Leaders of business in Ghana, making your working environment malaria safe, making your workers malaria safe, and supporting communities in Ghana remain malaria safe, is a sure way to ensure health and wealth for all,” the First Lady said.

 Mr Emmanuel Fiagbey (left) together with Mr Felix Nyanor Fosu (2nd left), Chief of Party, PSMP, and Mrs Constance Bant-Plange (3rd left), Programmme Manager, NMCP, presenting a citation to the First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo (2nd right). With them is Mrs Lois Okudzeto, Administrative Director, Infant Malaria Prevention Foundation.

First Lady honoured

The British High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Jon Benjamin, in a solidarity message said the UK government was the leading investor in resources for malaria initiatives in developing countries.

He said the economic impact of a malaria free workforce for any business entity was enormous and, therefore, advised business owners to embrace the initiative.

He also called on the government to prioritise malaria in its budget allocations.

The Country Director of the Johns Hopkins University Centre for Communications, Mr Emmanuel Fiagbey, said the PSMP was going to be used as a tool for the commercial sale of approved treated mosquito nets under the MSI.

He said companies that had already adopted the initiative had seen tremendous improvement in the health of their workforce.

The PSMP Malaria Ambassador, Mr Prince Kofi Amoabeng, formerly of UT Bank, said with support from companies, malaria would be totally eradicated from the country by 2030.

The First Lady was later presented with a citation for her work in the area of malaria prevention, especially among mothers and children.

There were testimonies of how companies such as the Ghana Rubber Estate Limited, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Volta River Estates Limited have been able to reduce the economic burden of malaria on their company’s finances.

Mr Prince Kofi Amoabeng (middle) exchanging pleasantries with Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo after the launch. Looking on is Mr Emmanuel Fiagbey. Pictures: EMMANUEL ASAMOAH ADDAI