EDUCATION-MALARIA CONTROL NEXUS: THE CASE OF GHANA
ADJEI, DAVID SEFA
University of Ghana , Legon
Malaria is a global public health issue as well as a national one in Ghana. It is the number one cause of under-five mortality in Ghana. Several attempts have been made to curb the negative effects of this disease which include the use of Insecticide-Treated Nets (ITNs), anti-malarial drugs, indoor-residual spraying, etc. In Ghana, major stakeholders have ensured the provision of ITNs at highly subsidized rates and even in some cases, distributed free of charge. Alongside these interventions, there has been information, education and communication of activities to help Ghanaians understand the malaria burden and its various means of control. Despite these efforts, there has been marginal decline in malaria cases and mortality rates. Usage of ITNs still falls below the 80% coverage of the vulnerable population as recommended by the WHO. Thus, this study sought to investigate the role and extent to which education influences the ownership of ITNs by households and the usage of ITNs by under-five children. Using a Probit Model and a Negative Binomial Distribution Model, the study examined the role of formal and informal education on the usage of ITNs by under-five children and number of ITNs owned by households in Ghana using data gathered from the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS, 2008). The study revealed that household heads with higher education had a positive effect on the use of ITNs by under-five children as well as the number of ITNs owned by households. Health workers and community volunteers also played a positive role in the ownership and usage of ITNs by households and under-five children respectively. Results from the study implied that much attention should be paid to the training of health workers and community volunteers to aid them to effectively disseminate information regarding malaria and its means of control. Efforts should also be directed at ensuring high enrolment and completion of basic education which serves as a foundation for attainment of higher education in Ghana. Formal education aids in comprehension of the malaria burden and its means of control.