Dr Ebenezer Appiah- Denkyira
As a milestone to the eradication of Guinea worm disease in Ghana, the ‘National Guinea Worm Week’ was formally instituted by the Minister of Health, Sherry Ayittey, at the Civil Service Association Hall yesterday.
The aim of the launch which had its theme as ‘Final Push Towards Guinea Worm Week’ was to create awareness about the disease and to entreat the public to report such cases to the health services for an amount of GH ¢200 Ghana.
Addressing the gathering, the Director of PPME, Dr Afisah Zachariah, who represented the Minister of Health stated that since 1987, Ghana has been fighting Guinea worm disease, thus affecting the production and growth of the country, but in May 2010, Ghana broke transmission of Guinea worm disease and subsequently has not recorded such cases since 2011.
Dr Zacharia further said Ghana is on the verge of being certified as a Guinea worm-free country, therefore, in order to reach that ultimate, she tasked Ghanaians to look out for any case of Guinea worm disease which resembles a hanging worm and report to the nearest health service for a token of GH ¢200 .
‘We shall continue to work with the developmental planning committee to eradicate Guinea worm disease since the disease is not only a health issue but a developmental one,’ she said.
A representative from the World Health Organisation, Madga Robalo, in his statement showed excitement for the country on its verge of certification as Guinea worm-free and sequentially appealed to the health authorities to be committed in its activities to draw the awareness of the public of this disease.
‘0n July 28, 2014, Ghana officially broke transition of Guinea worm disease and for this reason we are pleased that Ghana is on the threshold to be certified as a Guinea worm- free country,’ the representative of UNICEF, Susan Namondo Ngongi said.
She continued that in eradicating the cancer, UNICEF had provided clean water to 300,000 people over the country with regards to totally eliminating the disease. She finally called on the government and
stakeholders to push for the last mile to demolish Guinea worm cases.
The Chairman of the National Certification Committee, Dr Sam Bugri, appealed to the authorities for the awareness of the disease, clean water supply and complete surveillance to the public. The Chairman for the programme, Regional Director of Health Service, Dr Ebenezer Appiah- Denkyira, in his remarks said that Ghana is one of the last countries to witness the Guinea worm disease and prayed that Ghana would be certified in July as a Guinea worm-free country. Suspected cases could be reported to these hotlines: 0274 33 17 77 and 0208 07 79 73.
By Rita Oduro
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