The Health Minister, Major Courage Quashigah (rtd), has announced health promotion campaigns to prevent diseases such as bilharzia and typhoid.
He said the decision to go in for prevention campaigns for bilharzia rather than the mass treatment of the disease by distributing drugs free of charge to endemic areas was because the method was expensive.
Major Quashigah made the announcement on the floor of Parliament when he was answering a question by Raphael Kofi Ahaligah, MP for Afram Plains South on what steps the Ministry was taking to eradicate typhoid and bilharzia along the Afram River.
The Minister said the health promotion campaigns sought to educate people to seek early treatment and to protect themselves from being infected, advise people to dispose of urine and faeces properly so that viable eggs of parasite would not reach bodies of fresh water.
The campaigns also seek to prevent exposure to contaminated water by avoiding swimming or wading in contaminated water and to wear boots if it became absolutely necessary to wade in such water.
Major Quashigah said typhoid fever was as result of poor personal hygiene, poor environmental sanitation and pollution of water bodies, and underscored the need for preventive and control measures prevention based on safe drinking water as well as adherence to safe food handling practices.
He underlined hand washing, especially after visiting the toilet or before eating, as well as provision of washing facilities, particularly for food handlers and attendants involved in the care of patients and children.
Human excreta must also be disposed of safely and fly proof latrines must be maintained, and in addition, the public water supply must be protected, purified and chlorinated.
Answering a question on when the Maternity Block of the Presbyterian Hospital at Donkorkrom would be completed, Major Quashigah said the rehabilitation of the Maternity Ward had been stalled for financial constraints, but added that provision of funds for that project would be made in the Ministry's 2008 budget.
Also, upgrading of the health facility at Mame Krobo, also in the Afram Plains would be considered as soon as adequate funding was secured.
To a question asked on behalf of John Tia, NDC -Talensi on what steps the Ministry was taking to provide emergency wards at the Tongo Pwalugu Health Centres, Major Quashigah said due to their special nature, emergency wards could not be provided at lower level care centres like Pwalugu and Tongo Health Centres.
He said minor emergency services were however, being offered at the Tongo and Pwalugu Health Centres and major ones referred to the Regional Hospital in Bolgatanga.
With the obstetric cases, the Ministry is currently extending the maternity wing of the Tongo Health Centre to improve the management of deliveries and maternal health care in the area.
Major Quashigah said the extension would be completed by the end of March.