Malaria continues to be a greater cause of morbidity and mortality in Ghana. The government of Ghana and other donor agencies are making tremendous efforts to prevent and control the disease. In spite of these efforts by the government, malaria has not yet been defeated in its bastion.
The aim of the study was to find out the experiences community nurses have about the existing methods of preventing malaria and the challenges facing them in their effort to prevent the disease in Dormaa municipality.
Qualitative research was used to find out the preferred methods in the community. Also the study investigated the various misconceptions the people have about the preventive methods and the challenges nurses encounter. 18 community nurses from all the health posts in the municipality were interviewed through semi-structured questionnaires.
The study revealed that repellants and ITNs were the most preferred methods used to prevent malaria in Dormaa. Residents have various misconceptions about these preventive methods. It also came out that lack of funds and inadequate personal restrain the activities of nurses in their efforts to promote health in the area.
Malaria is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the world. Malaria poses a greater threat to about 40% the population of the world, particularly pregnant women and children under the age of five. In year 2010, there was an estimation of almost 220 million cases of malaria and 660,000 deaths respectively. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region mainly affected with about 85% of these cases occurring in that region (Abora, et. al. 2013.) According to WHO (2013), malaria kills 1300 children in a day and one child every minute globally. Malaria is pandemic throughout the tropical regions in the world. It is considered to be one of the killer diseases in sub-Sahara Africa. It was estimated that 300 million cases of malaria was recorded on the globe annually (Dugbartey & Apedo, 1998.) The world needs 3 billion dollars to combat malaria every year (UNICEF, 2012).
The 2010 report from 106 malaria endemic countries indicates that the cost of funding for the control of this disease was 1.5 billion dollars in only 2009. This seriously threatens the 2015 global target, since the report further indicates that fund inflow remained at 1.8 billion dollars as against over 6 billion dollars required within the period mentioned (WHO, 2010). Malaria kills over a million people every year globally with 90 percent of the deaths coming from Africa. Children under five years also constitute 70 percent of this number. In sub-Saharan Africa, one in five children death is the result of malaria (Molavi, 2003.)
In Ghana, malaria has rendered many people mentally handicap and psychiatric morbidity (Dugbartey & Apedo, 1998). Malaria has caused a section of the population into poverty and this situation has reduced national output, hence slowing down national development. Despite the fact that several attempts have been made over the years to combat the disease in Ghana, statistics for 2010 indicated that an average of 8200 cases were reported daily, and a total of 3 million cases for a whole year. Out of this figure, over 3000 deaths were recorded. The most vulnerable population was children and pregnant women (Tettey, 2011).
Malaria is the leading killer disease in Ghana. In 2008 Ministry of Health (MOH) budgeted 846,142,000 dollars for malaria. It is estimated that malaria accounts for 33% of death in children under five year old and 36% of all hospital admission sickness in the country (Ghanaweb, 2012.) Every year 3.5 million people are infected with malaria and approximately 20,000 people also die from malaria of which most of them are children under five years of age. Most of the children who are able to survive from malaria suffer from convulsion and brain disorders, which affect their growth and development. In 2008 the cost of malaria was 760 million dollars and that was 10% of the country’s gross domestic product. Upon this entire devastating situation little attention has been given to research in this area of study (Tweneboa-Kodua, Otuo & Mahama 2012.)
The incidence rate of Malaria in Dormaa Municipality of Ghana continues to increase. Available records at the Minisry of Health for Dormaa Municipality shows annual malaria incidence increasing from year 2005 to 2007. In year 2005, Out Patient Department (OPD) cases diagnosed, as malaria was 51,163. This figure rose to 66,833 and 93,216 in year 2006 and 2007 respectively. In year 2008 however, the figure dropped from 93,216 recorded the previous year to 88,381 (Majoros, 2011.) These figures show that malaria is still a major threat to the population of Dormaa and Ghana in general. The aim of the study is to find out the experiences community nurses have about the existing methods of preventing malaria.