The People of Asukawkaw and its environs have criticised the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for being insensitive to their health needs over the years especially in controlling the black flies that cause the onchocerciasis disease.
According to the people in these communities namely Dormabin, Adumadum, Kpelesu, Pai-Katanga, Adunkwanta, and Asukawkaw, during the National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime, the government organised a periodic spraying exercise with helicopter, which led to a reduction in the number of black flies at that time.
They were speaking to The Chronicle at separate interviews when this Reporter visited the area to ascertain facts based on previous visits by some of the community members to The Chronicle office in Ho where they alleged that some government officials claimed that the flies do not exist.
The people noted with regret that since the NPP government came into power in 2000, the spraying exercise had been stopped and this had contributed to the increase in the number of black flies in the area.
According to the people, the black flies do not only infect them with the onchocerciasis disease but also affect economic activities due to the nuisance they cause which makes it impossible for the locals to embark on their farming activities effectively.
The people explained that the NPP government provided them periodically with drugs, which they said were ineffective because the drugs have no effect on the activities of the black-flies.
They disclosed that most of the youth suffer from eye diseases and by the age of 25 had resorted to the use of lenses adding that since the NPP government has demonstrated to them that they care less about their well being, they are calling for the comeback of the NDC.
Contributing, the Assembly Member for Adokwanta, Hon. Mohamed Idrisu, expressed concern about how the government started playing politics with their health as some of its officials claimed that the flies never existed in the area.
He said the people have accordingly taken note of such utterances, which he described as unfortunate, adding that instead of the government finding solutions to the health needs of the people it rather pretends such problems don't exist while the people continue to suffer.
“The people in my area have also read meaning into the activities of government,” he complained. He said the actions discriminated against them and that the people have also resolved to respond in the 2008 general elections.
Mr. Idrisu said the effect of the black flies was being experienced mostly in the rainy season; the most productive period of farming, adding that the political talks being made by some government officials about the absence of the flies was shameful and unfortunate.
In a research conducted by the Ghana Health Service and officials responsible for National Oncho control programme in June 2005 they dismissed any outbreak of the black flies in such areas but admitted the existence of the black fly in the area.
A document chased on by The Chronicle stated that : “Entomological investigations conducted at suspected breeding sites for evidence of black fly breeding proved negative and that none of the rivers and streams examined were found to be breeding black flies”.
For his part, the District Chief executive for the Area, Michael Gyatoh confirmed the presence of the black fly and said health authorities in the District were in control of the flies. He however explained that the District Assembly could not afford to embark on the spraying exercise since its resources could not meet such challenges.