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08.10.2008 Health

Another giant step by ZoomLion… Collaborates with three ministries to improve health, through sanitation

By Zam R. Samin & Alfred Adams - Ghanaian Chronicle

THE leading waste management company in the country, ZoomLion Ghana Limited, is collaborating with three ministries of government, to take care of the waste and sanitation management of the major health facilities in the country.

They are the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, Ministry of Manpower Youth and Employment, as well as the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).

This was disclosed by the Western Regional Operations Supervisor of ZoomLion Ghana, Mr. Felix Boankrah, at the launch of the partnership programme by the leading waste management company in Takoradi.

According to Mr. Boankrah, ZoomLion would engage about 4,000 sanitary guards nationwide.

These guards, he said, would be expected to complement the work of environmental health officers of the various assemblies, as part of efforts to keep the communities clean. Consequently, the theme adopted for the programme is, “Preventing diseases through improved environmental sanitation in Ghana.”

Mr. Boankrah noted that the main task of ZoomLion would be to improve sanitation conditions in the country.

They would weed, clean, sweep streets, and open spaces, as well as embark on vector control, provision of dustbins, and waste collection services, among others.

“Clean-up exercises would be done in healthcare facilities and communities, after which ZoomLion would manage sanitation at the facilities over a period of time,” he noted

According to Mr. Boankrah, the company would also embark on an education campaign, in collaboration with the regional and district environmental health officers, as well as information and communication officers, at the various district health directorates.

The Public Relations Officer of ZoomLion, Mr. Oscar Provencal, on his part, said 60 to 70% of diseases that confronts the country, could be traced to poor environmental practices by some communities in Ghana.

In that regard, he suggested proper environmental and human hygienic practices, in effective collaboration with the parties involved in the strategic deal.

Meanwhile, free medical care and examination, as well as treatment, were conducted by a medical team brought to the programme grounds by ZoomLion.

The Western Regional Manager of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Mr. Emmanuel Winfred Okyere, in an address, said keeping the environment clean in Ghana could reduce the disease burden on our communities.

This, he said, would eventually produce healthy people for the development of the nation.

It would also reduce the claims, he noted, that were being paid by the district-wide Mutual Health Insurance Scheme (MHIS), as well as make some financial savings from the health sector, for the development of other sectors of the economy.

To Mr. Okyere, environmental issues cut across many sectors of the economy, and therefore required effective collaboration for proper management.

Mr. Ahmed Sulley, Sekondi Takoradi Metropolitan Environmental Officer, in his address, averred that a healthy environmental practice helped in transformational economic growth, which for a good purpose, transforms the lives of the people.

As a result, he called for serious campaigns, against bad environmental practices, among the people of the Region.

The Medical Director of the Effia-Nkwanta Hospital Dr. Paul Ntowly, in his address, commended ZoomLion and its partners for supporting the health facilities with this laudable initiative.

He pledged the co-operation and support of the hospital, and urged the general public to give the parties involved the needed support, to carry out this initiative.

The Western Regional Director of the Ghana Health Services, Dr. Linda Vanotoo, who chaired the function, emphasised on the need for parents in the region, to constantly explain the hazards of bad environmental practices to their children.

She advocated for personal hygiene, safety and parental protection of children, its essence and health improvement, as well as showing utmost concern for the general development of their wards in a clean and healthy environment.

Whiles advising parents on that, she said many diseases worrying the country, and constantly making the health facilities congested, were as a result of poor environmental practices.

Aside malaria, a lot more diseases, she said, were caused by this debilitating problem.

For Ghana to move forward in a health economy, a clean environment, according to Dr. Vanotoo, was very important.

ZoomLion Ghana had earlier this year signed another agreement with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, to take care of market places, artisan areas and lorry parks, to better the working conditions of small scale operators in the country. All central markets have been earmarked for this programme.

In the Western Region, the Takoradi Market Circle, the Sekondi Market, Kokompe (artisan) center, are among the selected areas to be sanitised by the company, which has also employed thousands of the youth in the region.

For a start, the main storm drain from Kokompe, the industrial hub of Takoradi, leading to Lagoon Side at Adakope, an ewe community in the metropolis, was desilted to avert the periodic flooding of the area, after every heavy downpour in the metropolis.

The main road in the area is also being rehabilitated in the process, while a place of convenience was to be constructed to put a stop to the bizarre situation, where some of the people in the area had turned the swampy area into a place of convenience.

Among other initiatives of ZoomLion in the Sekondi Takoradi metropolis, include the rehabilitation of the butchers and fishing shops, the deplorable road leading to the Sekondi Industrial Area, as well as the provision of security lights in the aforementioned areas. Beautification of the city is also considered one of the latest initiatives of the company. As a result, flowers have been planted in the various roundabouts, to give the city a new look

In the other districts, the company has engaged a lot of the youth in the general sanitation programme of the company. In the Ahanta West, Mpohor Wassa East, Nzema East, Ellebele, Akontombra, Juaboso and Bia, employment has been created for a lot of the youth, through the ZoomLion programme.

In other districts such as Jomoro, Sefwi Wiawso, Wassa West, Wassa Amenfi West, Amenfi East, Prestea, and the Shama districts, the sanitation programme of ZoomLion was not only reducing the level of filth and waste, but has positioned the people living in the districts, in a better position to adopt good environmental practices.