A project of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Communication Programs.

Ghana Revenue Authority joins network of malaria powerbrokers in Ghana

 

On October 8, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) launched its malaria control strategy and plan of action in the Volta Region, with the theme, “Turning Revenue Makers into Malaria Champions; a true demonstration of corporate social responsibility.”

The launch took place in Kpetoe, at the Customs Excise and Preventive Services Academy, where the GRA commissioner general George Blankson underscored his organization’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of its staff, about 7,000 people, and almost 30,000 community members.Dr. Kezia Malm of the NMCP, flanked by senior officials of the GRA, discusses the importance of testing before treating malaria symptoms.

“Today we stand at the threshold of expanding the frontiers of the employee wellbeing program to encompass malaria control programs for our staff and communities,” he said. “I am certain that this effort will obliterate the 25% absenteeism rate we attribute to malaria among our employees.”

The commissioner general called on select officers to lead the malaria program. By becoming champions for malaria control, he said, they will be “contributing to sustaining a stronger workforce, a stronger community and therefore a more productive and taxpaying community.”

In her keynote remarks, Dr. Kezia Malm, deputy manager of the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) stressed that Ghana has made tremendous progress in the fight against malaria but that continued collaboration is needed. “Our journey to eliminating malaria can only end successfully if the support of every sector—the public sector, private sector, NGOs, and the donor community—is sustained,” she said.

Under Dr. Malm’s leadership, the NMCP has encouraged families to make sleeping under nets a normal part of their daily and nightly lives. It is also promoting the “T3: Test. Treat. Track” initiative recommended by the World Health Organization, which urges health workers and the public to confirm all suspected malaria cases before treatment.

The two-day strategy and action plan development and launch was organized by Voices for a Malaria-Free Future in collaboration with the GRA and the NMCP. The project’s Ghana director, Emmanuel Fiagbey, said that the GRA’s efforts were worth emulating in the private sector.

“That the ‘Revenue Makers,’ our tax officials, have become malaria advocates and mentors for their colleagues should not only preserve the health of the GRA workforce, it must also strengthen our network of malaria champions,” he said. In Ghana, that network is growing as the United Against Malaria partnership expands. Ms. Eunice Dadzie, a GRA employee wellness program focal person, presents her group’s action plan at a plenary discussion.

The Ghana Revenue Authority is a major parastatal institution made up of the Customs Excise and Preventive Service, the Internal Revenue Service and the VAT Service. About 45 officials participated in the program, including 15 senior officers.

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