New anti-malaria drug to be administered to 686,983 children in the Northern Region

The Ghana Health Directorate in the Northern Region will on 22 July administer a new anti-malaria drug to about 686,983 children aged from 3 months to 59 months.

The new drug forms part of a new strategy dubbed, the "Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) Intervention Program." It is a malaria control program with the Ghana Health Service as the lead implementing agency.

The SMC is expected to prevent 75% of severe malaria and its related cases in the northern region. The optimum protection for every child during the exercise is at least 3 rounds out of the recommended 4 rounds for the one week exercise which will end on 28th July.
District Health Directorates as part of the exercise will identify resident volunteers who will be trained with electronic equipment to take data on how SMC administers the drug.

The health service is therefore appealing to care givers and parents to make sure the children are well fed before the volunteers visit their homes. The health service emphasized that children below 3 months or above 59 months are not qualified.

Mr. Sammy Oppong, the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E ), specialist with the national malaria control program, who disclosed this at a day’s stakeholders' engagement in Tamale explained that the SMC strategy is a regional driven initiative with technical support from the national malaria control.After a week's exercise, the new drug will be retrieved by the Ghana Health Service, he added.

The engagement brought together Imams, pastors, security service and NGOs in the health sector. It was to explain to them the need for the new drug and current state of malaria cases in the region.

Northern region exercise follows success story of SMC in Upper East and Upper West Regions. Northern regional health promoter, Madam Rahinatu Yakubu pleaded with parents to listen to health officials and volunteers who will administering the drugs to children.

Madam Yakubu also appealed to Imams, pastors, identifiable groups and women groups, especially to help in ensuring the success of the SMC.

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