Tingoli (N/R), May 10, GNA - Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, Northern Regional Minister, has announced that the government was working towards the eradication of trachoma in the country by the year 2010.
He said this in a speech read for him at the launch of the Northern Regional "Trachoma Week" celebration at Tingoli in the Tolon-Kumbungu District on Tuesday.
The celebration aimed at intensifying public awareness on the causes and prevention of trachoma, which is an infectious disease of the eye caused by bacteria known as chylamidia trachomitis, that is carried by the housefly from infected person to non-infected persons.
Alhaji Boniface tasked government agencies to integrate preventive and treatment efforts into their routine work to encourage community members to participate in local health activities.
He said communities needed to be educated to accept surgery to reduce blinding trachoma by decentralising into smaller health units, especially in high prevalence areas.
Alhaji Boniface urged the Ghana Health Service to encourage women to participate in literacy training so that they could become health educators to support face washing and proper sanitation practices. He called for multi-sectoral approach towards building the infrastructure for the eradication of diseases, economic and environmental development, as well as behavioural change to sustained progress in public health.
Dr. Elias Sory, Regional Director of Health Services, said polio, guinea worm and trachoma had become endemic in the area and urged the people to practice good environmental and personal hygiene to stem their spread.
He called on them to disassociate the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) from politics since it was all about their health and the well being of those of their families.
Madam Catherine Mwine, Tolon/Kumbungu District Director of Health Service, said the district was endemic with trachoma cases and attributed it to the lack of potable water and the poor sanitation facilities.
She announced that about 84 million people worldwide were suffering from active trachoma.
Madam Mwine said the WHO has recommended "SAFE" which is an acronym of Surgery, Antibiotics, Facial cleanliness and Environmental sanitation as a strategy for the control of trachoma. She said antibiotic treatment was going on in 213 communities while ophthalmic nurses were also conducting trichiasis case search surgery in the district.