The First Lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has appealed to corporate institutions in the private sector and other stakeholders in the health sector to join hands with the public sector to strive and eliminate malaria from Ghana and the African continent at large.

She stated that taking the necessary steps, to vigorously fight Malaria, will have positive implications for human development and business and economic growth on the African continent.

As a result, realization of the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda can be achieved when we have amongst, an educated, skilled and healthy workforce.

Mrs. Akufo Addo made this known when she addressed relevant stakeholders and industry players at the Corporate Award Ceremony of the Private Sector Malaria Prevention (PSMP) Project and GBCHealth Corporate Alliance on Malaria Africa (CAMA)’s West Africa” Zero Malaria Now” on Thursday, April 5, 2018 at the Royal Kempinski Hotel in Accra.

According to her, just as there is ample evidence that malaria impedes the overall economic development of Ghana and other countries of the sub-region and considering that Ghana needs a healthy future workforce for its economic development, it is about time malaria is nipped in the bud.

“Malaria is also absolutely bad for business. Malaria depletes the workforce and reduces productivity. Sick employees stay home, and companies are compelled to spend huge amounts on their healthcare. The corporate heads here, can testify that this affects your profitability. And it is not only businesses that lose. Families lose and governments also lose,” She explained.

She commended private sector organizations within the West Africa sub region that have taken steps to help control the malaria disease by protecting their employees and communities.

Touching on the benefits of mitigating the disease, the First Lady stressed that “when we eliminate malaria, Ghana would reap enormous benefits. We would quicken our pace of development and become more self-reliant. This applies to all countries within the sub-region too. The sub- region must fight malaria together, for faster economic transformation. This is important because of the movement of people across borders in our sub-region.”

“We must create a malaria-free belt in West Africa.” Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo succinctly re-iterated.

The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, commenting on event re-echoed the sentiments of the Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo and noted that although the country has made significant gains in the fight against malaria, a lot still needed to be done to achieve a malaria-free society.

To achieve this, he said there will be the need for public-private sector partnership, noting that it is the mission of the Ghana Health Service to provide quality health care services by responding to the needs of Ghanaians.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3.3 entreats countries to combat malaria, tuberculosis and other communicable diseases by the year 20130. The Ghana Health Service, according to Dr. Nsiah-Asare intends to achieve this dream by the year 2020.

To meet this target, he said the country will need the support of the private sector.

The event was to recognize and honour companies that have demonstrated a strong commitment to reducing the disease through innovative and sustainable programmes and have continually taken steps to demonstrate that malaria prevention is an important element of economic development, for malaria-endemic countries.

Five companies including RMG Ghana Limited, SUNDIAL Ghana, Agricare, Savannah Fruits Company and TANA were awarded Social Good Category for pursuing distinct malaria programs in the communities where they operate.

Anglogold Ashanti picked up an award in the Innovative Malaria Preventive Category while Access Bank, Nigeria Breweries and HIPPO Valley were awarded in the Sustainability Focused Malaria Program.

Exxon Mobil, Dangote, Ecobank and Asankogold were also awarded for their malaria-related activities or programs that are linked to the National Program of malaria control.

Joy FM, GBC/GTV and Daily Graphic were awarded in the Malaria Media Award Category while Benso Oil Palm Plantation, Golden Star Bogoso, Golden Star Wassa, Chevron, Delta Corporation, Ashantigold Aduaprim Mines, Norpalm and Zeal Environmental Technology were also recognised for their various contributions in the fight against malaria.

In the Malaria Lifetime Achievements Awards, Dr. Constance Plange and Dr. George Amofa were respectively awarded for distinguishing themselves to eliminating malaria from the society.

Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo was also honoured for the numerous roles she has played in the fight against malaria.