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28.04.2004 Regional News

Some communities reject Oncho treatment drugs.

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Daboase (w/r) April 28, -GNA - Over 3,066 inhabitants of Daboase and Atobiase in the Mpohor Wassa East District have persistently refused to use drugs meant for the treatment of river blindness and elephantiasis. Onchocercaisis or river blindness caused by the black flies is prevalent in the district, which is close to the river Pra according to health reports.

Doctor Kwaku Anin Karikari, District Director of Health Services, disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview at Daboase on Wednesday.

He said the directorate was presently using a combination of mectizan and albendazole for the treatment of river blindness and elephantiasis. Dr. Karikari said, while some the people cited side effects of the drugs that include severe skin irritation for their behaviour, others gave no reason for their refusal to take the drugs.

He said out of the total population of 46,212 in the two communities, 3066 have refused to take the drugs.

Dr. Karikari stressed that people who experience skin irritation after taking the drugs, must continue to take them since it meant that, they had been infected with the parasites.

He said the district has no hospital, and clinics and other health centres have poor facilities and lacked basic equipment. "Most of the community clinics lack the necessary equipment and personnel and as a result, the management of health services and health care delivery are not properly structured".

He stressed that negotiations are on-going, to upgrade the Ahmaddiya Mission Hospital at Daboase, the district capital to serve the needs of the people.

The Government would soon build a hospital at Mpohor, and efforts are being made to improve health service delivery in the area. "This will ensure that the staff situation at the Ahmaddiya Hospital improves and a doctor and nurses would be posted to work there". Mr. Karikari said the hospital at the moment has no nurse and as a result does not provide specialised services except in prostrate surgery.

He said data collection and storage in some of the clinics has become difficult since the worked load for the few personnel had become too much for them.

Dr. Karikari said malaria leads in the top 10 diseases prevalent in the area with 48.6 per cent, and results in several deaths. Efforts are being made to propagate the use of use insecticide treated mosquito nets and also educate the people to adopt clean environmental practices.

He stressed that to reverse the trend, the directorate had been organising series of training programmes for the staff of the various clinics to enable them to understand the peculiar demands of the sick and the Ghana Health Service (GHS). 28 April 04

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