THE First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has appealed to members of the private sector and captains of industry to be active participants in Ghana’s malaria prevention efforts since “it is a sure way to support government in sustaining health and promoting wealth.”
She called on the Ghanaian business sector “to rise to the occasion and embrace the goals of the Ghana-UK Private Sector Malaria Prevention Project and its Malaria Safe Initiative.”
Mrs Akufo-Addo made the call after she had launched two initiatives which are intended to be a platform for encouraging active private sector participation in efforts at eradicating incidents of Malaria in Ghana.
The Private Sector Malaria Prevention Project and Malaria Safe Initiative is spearheaded by Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programmes together with the Ghana National Malaria Control Programmes.
It is targeted at getting businesses in Ghana to make their working environment malaria safe, their workers malaria safe, and supporting communities in Ghana to be malaria safe through creating awareness and championing malaria free campaigns within their institutions and Ghana as a whole.
She noted that malaria as a disease has devastating consequences, especially on pregnant women and children as well as the socio-economic developments of Ghana as a nation.
She noted that “Malaria in Ghana accounted for about 48.5 % of under-five deaths in 2015, still remaining one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the country.”
The First Lady further observed that besides these negative effects on the general population, Malaria remained a major burden for businesses.
A report contained in the Malaria Journal indicated that 93% of companies in Accra, Ashanti and Western regions agreed that businesses needed to invest in combating Malaria.
According to the report, among 62 companies surveyed, Ghana lost about US$6.58 million to malaria between 2012 and 2014 through employee absenteeism, increased health care spending, and decreased productivity.
During the launch, the First Lady expressed her delight at such an initiative noting that “the fight against malaria is not only a passion for me but a responsibility I bear, not only as a mother but as a true citizen who cares for the health of all our people”.
The companies involved in this survey spent an average of 0.5per cent of their annual corporate returns on Malaria treatment alone.
At the launch were representatives from companies including Volta River Estates, Ghana Rubber Estates, Blue Skies, Plot Enterprise, Wilmer Africa as well as The UK High Commissioner, Jon Benjamin.