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20.02.2005 Regional News

210 Communities in Upper West have Trachoma

By GNA

Wa, Feb.20, GNA - The Trachoma Control Programme has identified 210 communities as trachoma endemic areas in the Upper West Region, with children and women being the worst affected.

The Wa Municipality has 105 communities where the disease is prevalent, Wechiau area of the Wa West district recorded 50 communities, Jirapa/Lambussie has 20 of the communities, while Nadowli and Lawra districts have 19 and 16 endemic communities respectively.

Ms Alimata Ali, the Upper West Regional Focal Person on Trachoma, said this at a day's forum to discuss the control of the disease in the region at Wa on Friday.

She said 557 surgical operations were performed out of 786 reported cases of the disease in the region last year.

Dr Daniel Yayemain, the Regional Trachoma Control Programme Manager said over 60 out of every 100 children had active trachoma in the Wechiau area of the Wa West district while in certain communities 20 per cent of women were in danger of being infected.

He attributed the widespread prevalence of the disease to poor sanitation, inadequate safe drinking water and poverty and noted that in the endemic communities less than one per cent of the households had decent latrines.

For every 100 people who get blind through trachoma, 75 per cent were usually women, he added.

Dr. Erasmus Agongo, the Regional Director of Health Services, said trachoma should not be regarded as an appendage of the health delivery services.

He said blindness was a major cause of poverty and, and therefore, trachoma and other eye related diseases should form a core of the health care initiatives.

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