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17.09.2002 General News

Over 3,000 guinea worm cases recorded

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Ghana recorded a total of 3,087 cases of guinea worm in the first half of this year as compared to 3,465 cases at the same period last year.

This constitutes 11 per cent decrease in the total national reduction rate of the disease.

The number of cases of the disease reported had been reduced by 97 per cent from an initial case search figure of over 179,000 cases in 1988 to 5,474 in 1996.

The Northern Region recorded 2,422 cases of the disease this year representing 78 per cent of the national total as compared with 2,188 cases reported at the same time last year, an increase of 11 per cent over last year.

Dr. Sylvester Anemana, Northern Regional Director of Health Services said this in a circular issued to the Ghana News Agency on the "Establishment of an Inter-Agency Committee for intensification of eradication of guinea worm disease in Ghana" in Tamale on Monday.

The circular said since the World Health Assembly adopted the resolution in 1988 towards the elimination of the disease by the year 1995, very few of the original 17 known endemic countries were able to meet the target, adding that the trend in the occurrence of the disease has given cause for concern.

Dr Anemana said poverty and the lack of potable water were mostly contributing to the prevalent of the disease.

He therefore, called for the provision of safe water to affected communities to ensure the eradication of the disease once and for all.

Dr Anemana said inadequate funding of the programme beyond the eradication target date of 1995 also explained why the disease had not been eradicated.

He said if the disease was eradicated it would boost a agricultural production since majority of the infected people were farmers in the rural areas.

Dr Anemana said the proposed Inter-Agency Committee for Guineaworm Eradication would be aimed at providing a forum for determining the direction of eradication of guinea worm.

He said the committee would work apply scientific strategies and government policy and mobilise and co-ordinate resources for the execution of the the programme.

Dr Anemana mentioned that the committee may also disburse funds mobilised for the programme, adding that the committee would be mutli-sectoral with membership drawn from all groups involved in the guinea worm eradication programme.

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