First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo has drawn the link between the elimination of malaria and economic development, stating that taking the necessary steps to vigorously fight and eliminate malaria in Ghana and West Africa is key to the realisation of a country beyond the assistance of foreign aid.
Mrs Akufo-Addo disclosed that eliminating malaria will have positive implications for human development, business and economic growth in West Africa and the African continent at large.
She said, “When we eliminate malaria, Ghana would reap enormous benefits. We would quicken our pace of development and become more self-reliant and the prospects of our young ones towards a better future can best be realised.”
The first lady made this known when she addressed stakeholders and industry players at the corporate awards ceremony of the Private Sector Malaria Prevention (PSMP) project and GBCHealth Corporate Alliance on Malaria Africa (CAMA)’s West Africa ‘Zero Malaria Now’ at the Royal Kempinski Hotel in Accra.
Addressing the gathering, the first lady, who received a special award for her resilient efforts in the fight against malaria, added that there is ample evidence that malaria impedes the overall economic development of Ghana and other countries of the sub-region, hence the need to nip it in the bud.
“Malaria is also absolutely bad for business. Malaria depletes the workforce and reduces productivity. 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 asserted.
Mrs Akufo-Addo, therefore, commended the private sector enterprises within the West Africa sub-region which have taken steps to help control malaria by protecting their employees and communities.
Touching on the benefits of mitigating the disease, she stressed that “when we eliminate malaria, Ghana would reap enormous benefits. We would quicken our pace of development and become more self-reliant,” she reiterated.
The event also recognised and honoured over 15 companies which 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.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri