The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyira has stated that all things being equal, Ghana will be certified as a guinea worm-free country this year.
He explained that this can be attained if there is evidence that the country’s surveillance system is sensitive enough to detect any case of guinea worm, saying there is evidence that the country has not recorded any guinea worm cases.
This was mentioned in a speech read on his behalf at the finals of the National Guinea Worm Eradication Quiz held in Accra.
He said Ghana entered a pre-certification phase of guinea worm eradication since the last detection in May 2010 and has since been putting adequate measures in place to reach her target.
He also mentioned that one of the measures that were considered was the institution of a cash reward in 2010 by the Health Ministry, which was aimed at motivating the general population to report cases of guinea worm in the country.
Dr Appiah-Denkyira said the initial payment was GH¢100 but was reviewed in 2011 to GH¢200 by the then Vice-President, John Mahama.
He further explained that in order to improve on the cash reward among the general population, particular awareness among pupils who can educate their peers and families has been adopted; hence the organisation of the quiz, which was made possible by UNICEF through the support of the School Health Directorate of the Ghana Education Service.
A representative of UNICEF, Mr David Duncan commended the participating pupils and advised them to make good use of the knowledge they have acquired by educating their peers and families.
He said UNICEF would continue to support the country in her quest to gain a free guinea worm status, and urged Ghanaians to rally behind the GHS and the Health Ministry to achieve this goal.
The quiz competition began with an initial inter-zonal, to the district level, then to the regional level and was crowned with the national competition.
The Central and Eastern regions finished the finals with a tie and at the end of the sudden death rule, Central emerged winners. Western Region finished third, with Upper West Region occupying the fourth position.
Head of the GES Health Directorate, Madam Kate Opoku said the aim of the quiz was to imbibe the knowledge of the eradication of guinea worm into the pupils since they could transfer the knowledge to others.
She also congratulated the pupils and the other finalists for the good work done and appealed to them to spread the news on the eradication of the guinea worm disease.
The participating schools were awarded with branded school bags, exercise books and a certificate while the final four schools also received the same award and a plaque.