Parliament Health C’ttee tours mosquito-breeding sites
The Parliamentary Select Committee on Health has toured some mosquito-breeding sites in the Bono Region with a call to step up larval control efforts targeted at immature mosquitoes to help fight malaria in the country.
“Despite the gradual reduction of malaria cases from 21,000 to 19,000 and 16,000 in 2020, 2021 and 2022 respectively in the Berekum Municipal, we believe a lot of work needed to be done as well,” the Health Committee of Parliament, Dr Nana Ayew Afriyie, has said.
He made the remark during an inspection tour of some breeding sites in the Berekum Municipal in the Bono Region, on Wednesday.
The tour was to enable the committee to get firsthand information about the larval control spraying operation of the Vector Control Services of ZGL which targets immature mosquitoes that may be developing in stagnant water.
Addressing journalists after the tour, the chair, Dr Afriyie, said “We have a budget to approve. Normally, we will say the formula for the National Health Insurance Authority: it will be in the next two or three weeks”.
He underscored that the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), was part of the larval control operation of Zoomlion, adding that though the NMCP was to monitor the activities of Zoomlion, “it looks like there is disengagement between the NMCP and the company.”
He stated that it was the committee’s responsibility to ensure value for money in the award of these contracts to private entities.
“So we may be having results, but scientifically we need to put a lot of things on paper so that when we come in here we can look at it as a matrix and checklist it, but in all we need the community to have value for money,” he insisted.
However, Dr Ayew Afriyie pointed out that there were issues with the project that needed to be addressed.
These, he mentioned, included some of the mapped out breeding sites not receiving continuous and effective spraying, and also the need for Zoomlion to have a schedule for the exercise.
The Ranking Member on the Committee and MP for Juaboso, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, asked Zoomlion to critically look at the strength of its spraying workforce and their welfare, indicating that that could have an adverse impact on the output of the project.
For his part, the Malaria Focal Person of the area, Joseph Gyebi-Buaben, revealed that there had been a gradual reduction of malaria cases in the municipal in the last three years.
The General Manager (GM) of Vector Control Services of ZGL, Reverend Ebenezer Kwame Addae, said they work in collaboration with Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) and NMCP, who is the supervising agency.
“What we do includes mapping of mosquito breeding sites after which we move in to do larviciding which is the application of Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) to kill all the larvae that we see in the stagnant water so that they will not grow to become adult mosquitoes,” he elucidated.
Rev. Addae, who is also in charge of the National Mosquito Programme (NMP), contended that reducing mosquito populations required a collective strategy.
“In controlling mosquitoes, it takes a collective strategy. It is not only one strategy that we use but what we do is to try and control the larvae. And you know there are so many sources which serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes,” he noted.