USAID’s Promoting Malaria Prevention and Treatment (ProMPT) Ghana Project Celebrates Achievements with National Malaria Control Programme
by Aguima Tankoano, ProMPT Chief of Party; Marni Laverentz, ProMPT Deputy Chief of Party; Nancy Newton, URC Senior Advisor for Behavior Change and Communication; and Kate Howell, URC Knowledge Management
March 8, 2013
A local theater group uses drama to demonstrate and encourage malaria-reducing behaviors in a Ghanaian village.
Malaria Prevention and Treatment (ProMPT) Ghana project celebrated successful
completion of its mission with government and local partners last week, after four
years of strengthening Ghana’s efforts to tackle malaria. ProMPT’s support made
significant and broad-based contributions to the achievements of the country’s
National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), part of the Ghana Health Service
(GHS). These contributions include supporting the NMCP to improve malaria
prevention and treatment, mobilize communities to take action to protect
themselves and others, and spread evidence-based practices across the country. Funded
by the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID) under the President’s Malaria
Initiative (PMI), ProMPT was managed by URC with its partners the Population Council and Malaria Consortium.
a major cause of sickness and death in Ghana, requires comprehensive, integrated
programming. ProMPT’s approach comprised four major components: 1) preventing malaria
through use of bed nets, 2) mobilizing communities to engage in malaria prevention
and control activities, 3) improving management of simple and severe malaria
cases and malaria in pregnancy, and 4) strengthening health systems for
monitoring and evaluation.
through Bed Net Use
Sleeping under nets is key to preventing malaria: long-lasting
insecticidal nets (LLINs) kill on contact the mosquitoes that transmit malaria.
To help reach NMCP’s goal of universal LLIN coverage (one net for every two
people), ProMPT and NMCP developed an
innovative model for engaging other partners and donors, civil society
organizations, community leaders, and volunteers to carry out regional
door-to-door LLIN delivery and hang-up campaigns.
campaigns provide opportunities that other distribution strategies do not:
while hanging bed nets over sleeping places, volunteers also inform residents
about the benefits of routinely sleeping under the nets and teach people how to
care for them. ProMPT, with other GHS partners, supported the NMCP to carry out
the campaigns, with achievements that included:
- Distributing more than 12 million LLINs
- Helping increase net ownership and use in
project-supported regions. According to recent government health surveys, the
percentage of children sleeping under LLINs increased from 11% to 42% in
Northern Region, from 36% to 60% in Eastern Region, and 40% to 70% in Volta
Region between 2008 and 2011.
- Receiving an award for Lead Innovator for
LLIN distribution in 2011 from the Alliance for Malaria Prevention.
- Supporting a demonstration project to test
approaches for routine, continuous distribution (as opposed to once-only
campaigns), including school-based distribution of LLINs in partnership with
the GHS, which enabled over 181,000 students and primary school teachers to
ProMPT developed this door to door hang-up
campaign model to mobilize partners, donors, civil society organizations, and
volunteers to distribute and hang up more than 12 million bed nets nationwide.
Communities to Engage in Malaria Prevention
Because malaria is such a common disease in Ghana, many people are unaware
of the dangers it presents and do not know how to prevent it. ProMPT supported a
number of social mobilization activities to educate Ghanaians about malaria
prevention and treatment and to encourage communities to take an active role in
combating the disease. ProMPT also assisted the NMCP and GHS to increase demand
for malaria prevention and control activities and establish their sustained use.
- Sponsoring a nationwide multi-media campaign
with the USAID/Behavior Change Support project promoting malaria prevention. In
addition, ProMPT produced and aired more than 11,000 radio spots in five local
languages throughout seven regions.
- Playing a key role in coordinating nationwide malaria
communication, including finalizing and distributing an updated national
malaria behavior change communication strategy.
- Supporting the training and orientation of more
than 4,500 opinion leaders, including traditional chiefs and queen mothers, clergy
members, trade union leaders, and media journalists, who shared malaria
prevention and control messages with their constituencies.
- Providing sub-grants to and developing the
capacity of 33 Ghanaian NGOs to promote malaria prevention and treatment in 33
districts in eight regions and work with district health management teams to
share resources and implement joint activities. The NGOs trained community
health volunteers, who reached more than two million community members through
these grassroots efforts.
Above: Drama entertains and engages communities while portraying healthy behaviors. Below: Grade 2 students at Mampong Primary School display
insecticide treated nets they received as part of a free net distribution
program in Ghana.
Improving Case Management and Malaria in
ProMPT strengthened the capacity of Ghana’s health facilities to ensure
that health care workers learn how to effectively manage simple and severe
malaria cases, with a focus on children under five, and malaria in pregnancy
(MIP). Malaria infection during pregnancy in particular poses substantial
risk to the mother and her unborn or newborn child. The project supported the
- Providing training and training materials for
more than 10,000 of Ghana’s health workers in malaria case management and MIP.
- Developing and distributing 29,000 copies of a
job aid that guides health workers on protocols for MIP and intermittent
preventative treatment of malaria during pregnancy (IPTp) data monitoring. In
2011, Ghana achieved some of the highest rates in Sub Saharan Africa of
pregnant women receiving a second dose of IPTp, at more than 60% (see graph
- Training 642 supervisory staff from seven regions
in supportive supervision and providing grants to enable them to effectively
monitor, evaluate, and continuously coach health workers to correctly manage
malaria and MIP. To date, approximately 21,000 health workers from 2,000 health
facilities have received a supervisory visit. Most facilities receiving
supervision developed action plans to address key issues related to MIP and
- Working closely with the GHS Institutional Care
Division to provide monitoring and coaching support to regional and district
teams implementing supportive supervision in seven regions. This collaboration
will help to institutionalize supportive supervision within GHS.
- Providing training and materials for over 2,500
community health officers and community-based agents in community case
management of malaria.
Strengthening Health System Response and Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)
quality malaria data help decision makers, policy makers, program managers, and
health workers to understand the malaria situation and take the actions needed
to control it. ProMPT supported the health system in building its capacity
to monitor and evaluate the national malaria program. Key results included:
- Equipping the NMCP to use statistical software
and conduct evaluations of national malaria projects. In addition, a
ProMPT-supported M&E advisor was placed at the NMCP to contribute to
leadership and capacity building.
- Supporting regions and districts in managing
their data by providing 45 computers, distributing over 15,000 consulting room
patient registers, and training over 1,300 facility-based health workers in
using these registers to improve data quality. The project also facilitated
malaria data review meetings for exchange of best practices within and across
- Collaborating closely with the Policy, Planning,
Monitoring, and Evaluation Unit of the GHS and the NMCP to train health
information officers in seven regions in producing malaria data bulletins and
in assessing the quality of malaria data and overall documentation within the