-But Safe Water Supply Still A Challenge
STRENUOUS EFFORTS jointly made over the last few years by the secretariat of the Ghana Guinea Worm Eradication Programme (GGWEP) and the office of The Carter Center as well as other partners have immensely contributed to a significant drop in Guinea Worm infestation nationwide.
Series of commendations have especially gone to the chiefs and people of Savelugu/Nanton District of the Northern Region, a once worst affected area, for recording an 84 per cent reduction in Guinea Worm infection.
Guinea Worm cases, according to Dr. Andrew Seidu Korkor, National Manager of the Guinea Worm Control Programme, reduced considerably from 179,556 in 1989 to 3,287 as at November 2007.
This downward trend, he said, had been possible as a result of a number of interventions put in by government and its partners over the past two years.
He noted that GGWEP would continue to intensify measures to eradicate the disease with particular emphasis on detecting and correctly managing all Guinea Worm cases, saying his outfit would also continue to educate people on the need not to contaminate water sources.
Addressing a group of journalists who went on a tour to learn more about Guinea Worm in the Northern Regional capital, Tamale, Dr. Seidu Korkor noted that to ensure a total eradication of the disease, all hands must be on deck, particularly in the provision of potable water for people living in Guinea Worm endemic areas.
The five-day field-trip, sponsored by The Carter Center, was aimed at sensitising the media on progresses made so far in the fight against Guinea Worm; water, sanitation and other health issues affecting people in the north; and as well bring to bare the challenges facing the fight against the disease, which is said to be a developmental problem.
The trip was led by Ms. Lamisi Mbillah, Miss World Beauty With a Purpose, who is serving as an ambassador in the fight against Guinea Worm in Ghana.
Mr. Jim Niquette, Resident Technical Advisor at The Carter Center Secretariat in Tamale told HEALTH MATTERS that his outfit would not relent in assisting GGWEP to eradicate the disease.
He called on the Ministries of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Local Government and Rural Development, and the Finance and Economic Planning to direct more resources towards improving the standards of living of the people in remote parts of the country, stressing that the poverty level in the northern part of Ghana could not be overemphasized.
The Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mustapha Idris was full of joy for the region's strides in eradicating the disease.
“The positive trends are the direct result of intensification of programme interventions, increased Central Government and Regional level supports,” he told the group when it paid a courtesy call on him.
He stressed his outfit's preparedness to support the eradication efforts.
Partners who have so far contributed to Ghana's success rates include The Carter Centre, World Vision, the West African Water Initiative (WAWI), International Aid, UNICEF, JICA, Rotary International, USAID, and the World Health Organinsation (WHO).
By Grace Dartey