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03.09.2005 Health

Guinea-worm is hindrance to national economy

Guinea-worm is hindrance to national economy

Diare, (N/R), Sept. 3, GNA - Major Courage Quashigah, (Rtd), Minister of Health, has said that guinea-worm is an enemy of the national economy and all efforts must be made to eradicate it. He said many people still perceived guinea-worm as a mere health problem with little economic reliance and noted that the presence of the guinea-worm lowered the economic potentials through the loss of man-hours on the farm, the loss of school time culminating in very low or no productivity from persons afflicted towards economic development. Major Quashigah said this when he re-launched sensitisation on the Guinea Worm Eradication Programme at Diare in the Savelugu/Nanton District of the Northern Region on Friday.

He said Ghana was on the spotlight of the world as the most endemic with the disease at a time that it was being referred to as a forgotten disease in many parts of world.

Major Quashigah said his Ministry had built the capacity of its workers and also put structures at the community level to facilitate the rapid eradication of the disease.

He called for collaborative efforts of the Ministries of Local Government and Rural Development and Works Housing, district assemblies and traditional authorities to lead the way in efforts to eradicate it. Dr Andrew Seidu Korkor, National Programmed Manager of the Guinea Worm Eradication Programme, said currently Ghana was the most endemic country in the world, recording about 60 per cent of the 4,189 indigenous guinea-worm cases reported globally.

He said the Northern Region was still the epicentre of the disease and currently, accounting for 80 per cent of the 2,813 cases reported so far in the country as at July this year.

Dr Korkor said 20 out of the 110 districts accounted for more than 98 per cent of reported cases with 11 of them in the Northern Region. The Tolon/Kumbungu District recorded 728 cases of guinea-worm, making it the most endemic district in the country.

The Savelugu/Nanton District took the second position with Diare as the most endemic spot in the country, registering 68 reported cases of the disease from Jan to July this year out of its 8, 000 community population.

Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, Northern Regional Minister urged district assemblies in the Region to get involve in the coordination of guinea-worm eradication activities.

The Minister said the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO should also make available its personnel at the zonal level to sensitise the people on safe practices to eradicate the disease and described guinea-worm as a national disaster.

He said the Regional Coordinating Council would ensure that all development partners played additional roles of instituting behavioural change among the people to eradicate the disease in the Region.