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Over 5 Million Euros For Guinea Worm Eradication

2008-03-10 21:43:47
This article has been read 748 times.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is providing over five million euros with an additional pledge of 20 million US dollars for the eradication of guinea worm in the Northern Region.

This forms part of measures being taken by UNICEF in collaboration with other stakeholders to implement an "Integrated approach to guinea worm eradication through water supply, sanitation and hygiene in the Northern Region".

Dr Yasim Ali Haque, UNICEF Ghana Country Representative, announced this after a two-day visit to the Northern Region to assess the on-going collaborative effort to improve the availability of safe water and sanitation facilities in an effort to eradicate guinea worm in the Region.

During the two-day visit, Dr Haque paid a courtesy call on Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris, Northern Regional Minister, interacted with local government officials, partner agencies and NGOs in Tamale and also visited Tolon and Savelugu, some of the guinea worm endemic areas.

She said in June last year, UNICEF Ghana, received a pledge of 15 million euros from the Ghana delegation of the European Union to implement the guinea worm eradication project.

Dr Haque said the project had just completed a six-month inception period within which the basic structures and building blocks had been laid for the effective and successful implementation of the project.

She said these would include putting in place the necessary staff, equipment and strategies, assessments and other fact-finding activities.

The UNICEF Country Representative said last year following the floods which destroyed a lot of farmlands and contaminated drinking water sources in the three northern regions there was an urgent need to provide the people with safe drinking water.

Dr Haque said in response to this and in consultation with the government UNICEF set up an emergency response plan to focus on urgent humanitarian and some early recovery needs of 75,000 people most affected by the floods including pregnant women and children under five.

She said with financial support of 250,000 euros from the European Commission Directorate of Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), the flood-affected populations had benefited from 20,000 long lasting insecticide treated bed nets, 50,000 courses of anti-malaria drugs, 100,000 water purification tablets, 5,000 ceramic filters for thousand households.

Dr Haque gave an assurance that UNICEF and its partners would continue to provide services and training to community volunteers in the Northern Region to increase awareness on clean water, sanitation and hygiene and prevention of diseases particularly malaria, diarrhoea and guinea worm.

Mr Filberto Seberigondi, Ambassador of the European Commission Directorate for Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) and Rocky Dawuni, a music star, accompanied Dr Haque on her two-day inspection visit.

Rocky Dawuni performed an "Independence Day Splash" at the new Tamale Sports Stadium later in the evening where he used the power of music to educate the people on guinea worm eradication, HIV/AIDS and other diseases.


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