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Malaria is caused by plasmodium parasite, GHS debunks assertion by Dr Assenso

BY: Daily Graphic
Malaria is caused by plasmodium parasite, GHS debunks assertion by Dr Assenso
Malaria is caused by plasmodium parasite, GHS debunks assertion by Dr Assenso

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has debunked a statement by the Founder and Director of Manyanoha Natural Health Services in the Ashanti Region, Dr Emmanuel Kwame Asenso, that parasites and mosquitoes are not the cause of malaria and that the wrong method has been used to fight the disease.

A statement issued by the Director-General of the GHS, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, in reaction to the story published on page 23 of the July 14, 2018 edition of the Daily Graphic with the headline, “Malaria is caused by filth in the liver,” stressed that the assertion by Dr Asenso was false and misleading.

“The information by Dr Asenso seeks to undermine all the effort and strives being made by the GHS and our partners to reduce the burden of malaria with regard to morbidity and mortality and the eventual elimination. We entreat the general public to absolutely disregard the false information put out in that report and to contact the GHS for appropriate and authentic information on malaria,” the statement indicated.

Plasmodium

The statement further emphasised that “malaria is caused by the parasite Plasmodium. Mosquitoes are the vectors (carriers) that transmit this parasite from one person to another. It is the female Anopheles mosquito that can transmit malaria. The female mosquito picks up the parasite from infected people when they take a blood meal needed to nurture their eggs.

“Inside the mosquito, the parasites reproduce and develop into the infective forms. When the mosquito bites again, the parasites contained in the salivary gland of the mosquitoes are injected and passed into the blood of the person being bitten.

“So the assertion that fighting against the parasite and the vector is not the way to go is not correct,” the statement stressed.


The plasmodium parasites, he expanded, multiply rapidly in the human liver and then in the red blood cells of infected person. It is important to note that a person does not develop the symptoms of malaria immediately after being bitten by mosquitoes. It may take one to two weeks after a person is bitten by the mosquito to first feel the symptoms of malaria: usually fever, headache, chills, joint pains, nausea, etc. If not treated promptly with effective medicines, malaria can kill, especially children under five years and pregnant women and their unborn babies.

Malaria-like symptoms

Dr Asenso is also reported to have cited ‘malaria-like symptoms’ in some patients with negative parasites in the blood as a proof of something else being the cause of malaria.

The statement explained that there are a number of diseases and infections that can have similar symptoms as malaria at one stage of the disease progression, examples of which are pharyngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, bronchopneumonia, pleurisy, sepsis sinusitis, meningitis, gastroenteritis, acute abdomen, peritonitis, cholecystitis, cholangitis, gastroenteritis, ameobiasis, appendicitis, pancreatitis, sub diaphragmatic abscess, hepatitis, etc.

”This is to show that all the ‘malaria-like symptoms’ may not be malaria and suspected malaria case should be tested for confirmation,” it added.

Interventions

According to the statement, the recommended interventions for preventing malaria in Ghana are the use of Insecticide Treated Nets, Indoor Residual Spraying, Larviciding and Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention for children under five years in the northern part of the country and Intermittent Preventive Treatment for Pregnant Women.

“Once someone is diagnosed of malaria, the recommended treatment is with Artemisinin based Combination Therapy when it is uncomplicated and in the case of severe malaria, treatment should be with injection Artesunate with alternatives such as injection arthemeter or quinine.

“Exercising and drinking water are good practices for healthy living but preventing mosquito bites (through sleeping under treated mosquito nets) and preventing breeding of mosquitoes through sound environmental practices are what will drive down transmission of malaria,’’ it added.