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Empower Environmental Health Officers to Arrest

2006-10-16 22:30:48
This article has been read 1049 times.

District assemblies have been urged to enact the necessary bylaws that would empower their Environmental Health Officers to arrest and punish water tanker drivers who fetch water from contaminated sources to sell to the unsuspecting public.

This action has become necessary because it has been observed that some water tanker drivers intentionally fetch water from sources, which are infested with the guinea worm disease.

Mr Edward Gyepi-Garbrah, National Professional Officer for Guinea worm Eradication of the World Health Organisation (WHO), made the call at the launch of the annual week celebration of the Medical Students Association (MSA) of the University for Development Studies (UDS) in Tamale.

The occasion was on the theme: " Guinea worm eradication through implementation of comprehensive health education."

Mr Gyepi-Garbrah called for the political will and inter-sectoral commitment to eradicate the guinea worm disease in the country, saying it was regrettable that Ghana was still battling with the disease when some of her neighbours such as Nigeria had almost wiped it out.

Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris, Northern Regional Minister, who launched the Week celebrations said the UNICEF project report on guinea worm for the year 2003 estimated that 40 per cent of those infected in the country were school children.

He said the Northern region recorded a total of 10,238 guinea worm cases in the various districts between 2004 and the middle of this year, adding that the disease was prevalent among the rural population who are mostly poor.

The Regional Minister said the effects of the disease included not only incapacitating its victims but also caused a decline in productivity, which was a big threat to food security.

He pointed out that the World Bank had estimated that the return on investment in guinea worm eradication would be nearly 29 per cent once the disease was completely eradicated.

Alhaji Idris urged the medical students to use their outreach programmes to effectively educate the communities on the prevention of the disease.

Mr Nonterah Engelbert, the immediate past President of the MSA appealed to the Northern Regional Director of Health Services to include the medical students of the UDS in the Expanded Programme on Immunisation of the Ghana Health Service and the WHO.

He appealed for more donor support to fund the activities of the Association to enable it carry to out its outreach programmes in the communities to educate the people on health issues.

Mr Rinsborg Amoah Owusu, President of the MSA said activities to mark the week-long celebration of the Association include radio-talk shows, an outreach programme in the communities and sporting events.

He said pipe filters would be given to all households in the guinea worm endemic communities.

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