In commemoration of World Malaria Day, ARHR in partnership with Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG), Center for Community Studies, Action and Development (CENCOSAD), Curious Minds, Oguaa Aid and other CSOs organized a twitter storm on Monday, 27th April, 2020, from 1pm – 2pm, to draw the attention of stakeholders to continue with the provision of essential malaria services amidst COVID19.
As efforts to limit the spread of COVID19 intensify and most resources are geared towards COVID19 response, it is imperative that governments ensure continued access to malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment services. Continued access to essential malaria services will not only prevent an increase in malaria cases but will ensure that progress made over the years on the fight against malaria are not derailed by COVID19. Continuous effort is needed to maintain and increase gains on the fight against malaria.
The team generated key messages on the need to continue the fight against malaria in the midst of COVID19. Some of these messages were:
‘Pregnant women and children under five years continue to be the group mostly at risk of malaria. We must reach these groups with life-saving interventions against malaria’
‘It’s imperative that the most vulnerable group at risk of malaria; pregnant women and children under 5, are continually protected against malaria even during this covid19 pandemic’
‘Malaria is a treatable and preventable disease and so no parent should lose their child to malaria’
‘Care must be taken so that during these turbulent times of covid19, malaria does not take a revenge on us. Vulnerable groups, especially pregnant women and children under 5 must continue to have access to testing and preventing malaria’
‘Countries can beat malaria if they increase work and investments towards the prevention and control of malaria’
‘Malaria mortality can be prevented by strengthening health systems’
‘Covid19 responses can cause an increase in malaria cases if we lose focus on malaria prevention and control. Focus on #malaria prevention and control should not be lost’
‘Covid 19 has shown that countries need stronger health systems in place to continue the fight against existing diseases like malaria. Health systems strengthening is a must!’
‘Countries that are highly prone to malaria need to continue the fight against malaria even in the midst of #covid19 to prevent an increase in malaria related deaths; thereby drawing back gains already made’
‘Provision of life-saving services for #malaria should be maintained during the period of covid19. Refusal to do so will cause an increase in malaria cases’
‘Malaria in pregnancy kills 10,000 women and 100,000 newborns every year. However, these deaths can be prevented with the provision of malaria services even during covid19’
Key stakeholders and policy makers like the National Malaria Control Programme, Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service, President of the Republic of Ghana, etc were tagged with these messages under the hashtags #EndMalariaNow #ZeroMalariaStartsWithYouAndI
The twitter storm generated interest among other twitter users who retweeted and liked the messages and joined in the storm even after the one hour period of the storm.