The Director General (DG) of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Ebenezer Appiah Denkyira, has called for a ban on street vending of cooked food in the country.
That, he said, was a sure way of helping to fight the current outbreak of cholera in the country.
Subsequently, he called on environmental officers in the various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) to enforce those regulations, which Are already in their bye-laws.
The DG made this known during a tour by the Minister of Health, Dr Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah, to the three northern regions.
The tour forms part of the minister’s working visit to some health facilities in the country.
It is to afford the minister the opportunity to see for himself the plans put in place in the three northern regions to combat the deadly Ebola viral disease (EVD).
Throwing more light on the need to halt the sale of cooked food in unhygienic places in an interview with the Daily Graphic, Dr Appiah Denkyira said most of the cholera patients interviewed so far got infected because they ate food sold by the street.
He said while touring most cholera affected areas such as Agbogbloshie and Odorna, all in Accra, what had been established was that those places had poor sanitation or lack of running water and, therefore, they had become susceptible to cholera infection.
Ninety-two fatalities have so far been recorded across the country out of 10,265 reported cases of cholera since its outbreak in June, this year.
In Accra, which is the hardest hit, more than 6,000 cholera cases have been reported with 51 deaths as of August 21, 2014. Among the number, the Korle Bu Polyclinic and the La General Hospital alone have recorded 2,156 cases. At the Korle Bu Polyclinic, 1,154 cases had been reported, with 13 deaths.
At the La General Hospital, 1,002 cases of cholera with 12 deaths had been recorded as of August 25, 2014.
The Mamprobi Polyclinic also have over 700 cholera cases with six deaths.
Following the rules
‘If you want to sell, you will have to apply for permit’, Dr Appian Denkyira said.
According to him, the bye-laws of the various assemblies called on people who wanted to sell food to apply for permit, adding that these laws needed to be enforced rigorously, if the current cholera outbreak was to be stopped from reoccurring.
He said such vending places should be in a closed environment, neat and free from flies with running water facility provided for patrons. Collective responsibility
He said it was the responsibility of lorry station managers, facility owners, market women, among others, to ensure that food peddlers in their vicinities had permits and abiding by the laws.
The DG, who commended the new Achimota Lorry station for adhering to cleanliness in the area, said it was the collective duty of station managers to ensure that their stations were neat and free from germs.
According to Dr Appiah Denkyira, with the outbreak of cholera in the country, the time had come for local authorities to enforce their sanitation bye-laws.
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