Ahead of World Malaria Day, GRA launches Malaria Safe strategy
Just days before World Malaria Day, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) launched its 2013-2015 Malaria Control Strategy and Action Plan at an exciting event at Koforidua in Eastern Ghana. The company aims to reduce its malaria-related absenteeism rate of 25% among its 7,000 workers.
With the theme, “Protecting staff, families and communities against malaria; a malaria–free people for a healthy economy,” the event drew 250 people, including GRA officials and representatives of the NMCP, Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Malaria, and media. Other participants included traditional and religions leaders, all 23 municipal and district chief executives from the Eastern Region, directors of the Decentralized Departments, regional heads of the Ghana Police Service, the Prison Service, the Fire Service and the Immigration Service.
“It is our promise that a defeat for malaria within the Ghana Revenue Authority will amount to a stronger workforce and greater revenue mobilization for our country, and we shall all work assiduously towards the achievement of nothing short of that,” said Commissioner General of GRA, Mr. George Blankson (pictured, at left). He called on the Authority’s three divisions--Customs Excise and Preventive Service, Domestic Tax, and Support Services--to support the development of all programs and activities within the strategy.
National Malaria Control Program Manager, Dr. Constance Bart-Plange (pictured, at right), congratulated the GRA for making malaria a safety and wellbeing issue in order to preserve the health and productive capacity of its workforce. She reminded all companies public and private that malaria investments are an investment in the future, both for their institutions and for society.
In her keynote address, Mrs. Hellen Adjoa Ntoso, Eastern Regional Minister, reminded District and Municipal Assemblies and traditional authorities that the 12.4 million LLINs distributed throughout the country in a recent hang-up campaign will be a wasted if families do not encourage sleeping under these nets in their homes. She called on all authorities to be ambassadors for promoting regular use of the treated nets. Malaria control, she stressed, “is not the monopoly of the health sector alone. It is the responsibility of all institutions, organizations and individuals in both the public and private sectors. The action by GRA is therefore appropriate, timely and laudable.”
Voices Ghana Director Mr. Emmanuel Fiagbey encouraged GRA managers to support Malaria Safe actions in the strategy, working with Employee Wellbeing Focal Persons of the Authority. He reminded them to remain committed to its national malaria advocacy functions of supporting actions that: 1) facilitate easy and speedy clearance of malaria related commodities such as LLINs, drugs, diagnostic equipments and insecticides by the Customs Division; 2) support resolution of bottlenecks in tax applications regarding malaria commodities in order to enhance availability and affordability of such needed commodities; and 3) support application of legislation ensuring malaria commodities are not smuggled outside the country.
In his final statement the Chairman of the event Daasebre Nana Oti Boateng I, Paramount Chief of New Juaben, called on leaders throughout the country to remain United Against Malaria, a disease he called “a major threat to the health of all Ghanaians and the country’s development aspirations.”
GRA officials and other private and public sector leaders signed their commitment to the UAM partnership and the cause of working towards eliminating Malaria in Ghana on three UAM-branded footballs. These were then presented to the Commissioner General of GRA, the Regional Minister and the Chairman Daasebre Nana Oti Boateng I, who received his on behalf of the chiefs and queen mothers of the country.
The development of the GRA Malaria Control Strategy and its launch has been the result of a fruitful collaboration of the Ghana Revenue Authority with the National Malaria Control Program under the technical direction of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs Voices for a Malaria-free Future Project.
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