Monday, March 1, 2010

Health Week 2009

Annual National Health Week is an initiative of the Federation of Ghana Medical Students’ Associations that brings the medical student closer to the community and affords the medical student an invaluable opportunity to bring his/ her knowledge and acumen to bear on improving the life of the ordinary Ghanaian. During Health Week, Medical Students all over Ghana (FGMSA) are given one week off lectures and ward sessions so they can travel to districts across Ghana and engage in a one week intensive health education/ campaign
Students are trained as volunteers in pertinent health issues and then dispatched to the various districts/ regions to embark on a far-reaching health education campaign. Collaborators over the years have been the Ministry of Health (Major collaborator), The Ghana Health Service and interested corporate entities.

Malaria continues to be a major health challenge in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, Ghana, very much, inclusive.
According to the 2008 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, malaria is responsible for up to 50% of in-patient admission and 44% of out-patient visits remain malaria related. Among pregnant women in Ghana, 14% of out-patient visits, 11% of admissions and 9% of deaths are due to malaria and its myriad complications.
Though absolutely preventable and very curable, many pregnant women and children under five continue to die needlessly from malaria. Thus the theme for this edition was, Prevent Malaria; save a mother and a child.

Activities lined-up for the week-long celebration were as follows;
12/09/09 – Awareness walk in Accra and Kumasi
19/09/09 – Grand-durbar and Launch of Health Week 2009.
20/09/09 – Departure of teams of volunteers to the various assigned districts.
21/09/09 to 26/09/09 – Health education/ campaign in the various districts.

The focus of our message revolved around the following three thematic areas in terms of preventing malaria:
1. The use of insecticide treated nets,
2. Improved health seeking behavior and effective case management of malarial illnesses,
3. The importance of adhering to the full course of Intermittent Preventive Treatment for pregnant women.
Teams of at least four students were stationed in each district and their task was to carry the message to the general public. Volunteers did this by outreaches to High schools, Talk shows at workplaces and offices; health talks at antenatal clinics and child welfare clinics. Other means used were the use of information vans provided by the district assemblies and also through the use of local radio stations.

By working in collaboration with the District Health Management Teams in the various districts, we managed to effectively carry our message on malaria in pregnancy and children to the communities. Other achievements of the project included the following:
1. Distribution of 100 Insecticide Treated Nets and 100 insect repellent creams to Pregnant Women attending antenatal The La general Hospital.
2. Distribution of about 10, 000 K-O TAB retreatment drugs for the mosquito nets nation-wide.
3. Demonstration of how to re-treat mosquito nets.

It is our firm believe that through the celebration of Annual National Health Week, we have made our contribution to helping Ghana achieve her Millennium Development Goals especially Goals 4 and 5 (i.e Reducing Maternal and Child Mortality).
The FGMSA hopes to build more partnerships in the future with other NMOs and agencies to make Health Week more meaningful and effective.

Health Week 2009 - Preventing malaria; saving a mother and a child!

Written by John Godswill Gyasi Banin
Dep. National Health Officer, FGMSA
Public Health Committee Chairman, UGMSA

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