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04.08.2005 Health

Guinea worm still prevalent in northern sector - Deputy Minister

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Accra, Aug. 4, GNA - Dr Gladys Ashitey, Deputy Minister of Health, on Thursday said guinea worm was still endemic in the Northern Sector and that Ghana was ranked second to Sudan in the world. She said the infection was still prevalent in Northern and Brong Ahafo Regions and parts of the Volta Region and called for more advocacy programmes to assist the Ministry in its efforts to eradicate it from those areas.

Dr Ashitey was speaking when Miss Lamisi Mbillah, winner of 2005 LG Miss Ghana called on her in Accra. She noted that the provision of potable water in these areas could reduce the infection to the barest minimum leading to its total eradication. Dr Ashitey said a joint committee made up of Ghana Health Service, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Works and Housing and Ministry Local Government and Rural development and the Water and Sanitation Agency was working on strategies to fight the disease and pledged the Ministry's support Miss Ghana's bid to carry out an education programme on the disease.

She thanked Miss Mbillah for identifying the area because the Ministry was actually looking for collaborators to create awareness to help to combat the disease. She said the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) was the main collaborator.

Miss Mbillah said she intended to pursue a second degree in public health and was, therefore, interested in going to the field to work with the team on the eradication of guinea worm. Dr George Amofa, Director, Public Health Division, said the problem of guinea worm was sanitation and a good water issue. "If there is clean water there would not be guinea worm," he said, adding that the endemic areas needed to ensure that their environment was clean.