The news that the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has decided to re-introduce the services of health inspectors, otherwise known as Tankase (corrupted form of the representative of Town Council),is a good one (see page 33 of the Graphic issue of Oct. 26, 2004).
It will gladden the hearts of all those who have been concerned over the ever-worsening poor sanitation that has become a common sight throughout the country. Many are those who cherished the presence of Tankase or Nsamansaman of old with the ladle to scoop water from drinking pots to find out whether there were any larvae in them.
Woe betide any household that had an untidy surrounding, since the Tankase would issue court summons to such a household.By all accounts it was an effective way of dealing with people who did not care about cleanliness, even though there was some form of compulsion. That practice served a good cause — to ensure a healthy environment and a healthy life.
It could be argued that in those days the population was not as large as it is today but it is also true that the younger generation has thrown those noble practices of keeping surroundings clean to the dogs.
Older generation of residents in Kumasi remember vividly how “Nsamansaman” made sure that gutters were clean and tidy in the days gone by.Today, there is filth everywhere, a worrying phenomenon which makes many to wonder. It seems there is the critical need to train the young ones in the homes to acknowledge and appreciate how to keep their surroundings clean.
Until then, it is important that we use the services of the health inspectors to see how best they can help to ease the problem.Clearly, the problem is not as critical in the rural areas as it is in urban areas. A good number of residents in the urban areas think that it is old-fashioned to keep one's surroundings clean.
For a start, 175 health workers have been trained and additional 140 are being trained now towards the implemetnation of the programme.We can anticipate the problems that will confront these health inspectors but men are to solve problems. We need not remind them that they have an obligation to change the people's attitude towards sanitation
It is important for the health inspectors to see those problems and show dedication and commitment to the task ahead of them.The need to engage in tremendous education is critical in changing attitudes and nobody denies that the greatest problem is to change people's attitudes.
Various assemblies need to motivate the inspectors so that they can go about their duties with joy and happiness. It is only when that is done that they will not be tempted to take money from those who breach the regulations.The implmentation process will need the support of all who want to see that the country enjoys a clean environment.
IN clean surroundings , our people would avoid many of the halth hazards that are inflicted on them through insanitary conditions.