Patience GbezeLilliana Owusu-Akyem, GNA
Accra, Oct. 24, GNA – The Ghana National Polio
Plus Committee (GNPPC) of the Rotary Club of Accra has donated a cheque for GH¢47,783.33
to the Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research (NMIMR) to undertake a
project on the environmental surveillance of Polio Virus in Ghana.
The two has signed a Memorandum of
Understanding to that effect and the project, which involved testing of waste
samples, will last for three years.
The testing of the waste samples was necessary
as these tend to be the easily accessible channels for the polio virus to
Dr Kofi Bonney, the Senior Research Fellow at
NMIMR, signed for the Institute while Ms Theresa Osei Tutu, Chairperson of the
GNPPC, Rotary International, signed for the Rotary Club.
The project will also conduct nationwide
sewerage sample collection at specific periods from fixed sewerage points by
the grab method.
Aside the project, the GNPPC will also give
the Institute protective work cloths and equipment, including wellington boots,
disposable and non-disposable gloves and disinfectants for the next three
Ms Osei Tutu said at Rotary International,
they believed that surveillance was the way forward, hence their decision to
support the Institute to conduct research to assist countries around the
sub-region to curb the disease.
She announced that Rotary International would
train staff of the Biology Laboratory during the period and the Accra Legon
Chapter would oversee the activities to ensure good reporting.
Since 2008, Ghana has not reported any polio
case and has been declared Polio-Free.
Mr Jeffrey Afful, District Governor, Rotary
International District 9102, said Rotary had been at the forefront of polio
eradication since 1979.
He said since August 2016, Nigeria had not
recorded any polio case and commended the NMIMR for its continuous efforts to
eradicate the disease in the sub-region.
Ms Valentina Kumadey, the President of Rotary
Club, Accra Legon, said at the end of the project, it is expected that they
would provide additional evidence whether or not wild poliovirus had been
eliminated in the country adding that the enteroviruses circulating in the
sewage system would be detected.
She said though Ghana had not recorded a case
in 10 years and Nigeria had also not seen wild polio since August 2016, several
concerns and challenges remained in Afghanistan and Pakistan, who had still not
been able to interrupt circulation of indigenous wild polio virus.
“As the Global Polio Eradication Initiative
moves towards achieving the goal of polio eradication, environmental
surveillance, which investigates sewage or wastewater, plays a major role in
providing evidence for certification of polio-free status.
“Many countries in the region have added
Environmental Surveillance to Acute Flaccid Paralysis but Ghana is yet to be
added to the list,” she added.
Dr Bonney, who earlier took the Rotarians
through their work at the Laboratory, thanked them for the gesture and assured
them of their readiness to achieve results.