- The cost of malaria treatment is crippling Ghana's health budget, Ghana’s Health Minister, Major (retired) Courage Quashigah, told an annual health summit in the capital Accra on Tuesday.
The cost of treating malaria this year amounted to US $772.4 million. This amount that equalled to the Ghana's entire health budget for 2008, represents 10% of the country's entire Gross Domestic Product for 2006.
Themed "Creating Wealth through Health", the summit, organised by Ghana and its development in health, is designed to sensitise Ghanaians about the need for regenerative health and nutrition as a core strategy for addressing health-related problems.
Quashigah cautioned Ghanaians not to underestimate malaria, a disease that kills one child every 30 seconds worldwide.
“Malaria slows down economic growth and if not checked, it can erode the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) if we do not take urgent actions.”
The World Health Organisation reported that up to 500 million people suffer from severe malaria, with most cases occurring in sub-Saharan Africa. In Ghana, statistics show that one in every five childhood deaths results from malaria.
Although children are critically threatened by it, malaria is however capable of threatening the health of all human beings. It is caused by parasites of the species plasmodium that are spread from person to person through the bites of infected mosquitoes and its common symptoms are fever, headache, chills and vomiting.
On a continent-wide basis, malaria has severe socio-economic effect through increased poverty, impaired learning and decreasing attendance of school and work, as well as direct costs that include a combination of personal and public expenditures on both prevention and treatment of the disease.
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