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08.08.2005 Health

Guinea worm eradication project records 53 per cent reduction


Accra, Aug. 8, GNA - Dr George Amofa, Director, Public Health Division of the Ministry of Health, said on Monday that there had been a 53 per cent reduction in guinea worm reported cases from January to June 2005 in the 20 districts in which the disease was endemic.

Dr Amofa told the GNA in an interview that this was a sharp decline from the same period in 2003 in which 8,000 cases were reported and the period between January and December 2004 in which 7,279 cases were reported.

"If the trend continues we will be reporting less than 3,500 cases this year," he said, adding that if the trend continued there would be good progress in two years.

He stressed, however, that it would require a massive provision of water in all guinea worm endemic areas.

Dr Amofa said the reduction was due to implementation of certain interventions, which needed to be sustained. This included the distribution of pipe filters, which were freely given to people in order for them to drink clean water to prevent getting infected. He said another method was the application of chemicals in ponds or any source of drinking water and early detection of infection by volunteers and Red Cross officials.

Dr Amofa said the peak season for transmission of guinea worm was from October to March. Some 98 per cent of all cases were being reported in only these district with 80 per cent from Northern Region, nine per cent from Volta region, five per cent Upper West, five per cent Brong Ahafo and very few cases in the Upper East, he said.

Dr Amofa said the most endemic areas were all in the Volta River Basin of the Volta, Upper West and Northern Regions.

He said in most endemic places, the project had established containment places where infected people were quarantined to prevent them from mixing up with uninfected people and they were taken care of and given treatment.

He said public education had also been embarked upon on the causes and prevention of the disease.

Dr Amofa said this was being done in partnership with Community Water and Sanitation Agency, Red Cross Society and School Health Education of the Ghana Education Service. 08 Aug. 05