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23.09.2005 Regional News

Miss Ghana urges Northerners to send children to school

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Sang (N/R), Sept. 23, GNA - Ghana's 2005 Beauty Queen, Miss Lamisi Mbillah, has made a passionate appeal to people from Northern Ghana to send their children to school and ensure that they are free from the guinea worm and other public health diseases to enable them to complete their basic education.

She noted that it was through education that the people could address their long-term social problems, including the myth and perception they had about certain diseases, especially the guinea worm, which were impacting negatively on their livelihoods. Miss Mbillah was addressing separate durbars organised in her honour by the chiefs and people of Taha in the Tamale Metropolis and Sang in the Yendi District where she cut the sod for the construction of a 450 million-cedi water project to round off her week-long tour of guinea worm endemic communities in the Northern Region.

The tour was part of her social contribution towards the national guinea worm eradication effort, which she had chosen as her project. The German National Committee for UNICEF and Hilton Foundation, an NGO, funded the project to provide potable water for 7,294 people in the Sang community, which is one of the most endemic guinea worm areas in the district.

The Yendi District recorded 578 guinea worm cases in 2003, 570 cases in 2004 and 186 cases in 2005 while the Tamale Metropolis registered 785 cases in 2003 as against 405 cases in 2004 and had recorded 200 cases as at July this year.

Miss Mbillah called on the three Northern Regions to make education their topmost priority to reduce poverty and disease from their midst. She also called on the people to remain united and promote peace to attract investors to enhance the development of the regions.

Alhaji Mohammed H. Tijani, the Yendi District Chief Executive, speaking at the function, announced that the District Assembly would extend electricity to the project site to mechanise the wells. He appealed to development partners to provide potable water for the Tibibado and Nagbiliya communities, which he said were guinea worm endemic, as a measure to eradicate the disease from the area. He expressed the hope that the provision of potable water would help promote good health among the people and enhance their economic activities.

Alhaji Tijani commended Miss Mbillah for her commitment to helping in the guinea worm eradication effort saying: "Your mission is a noble one and I pray that you fulfil your objective."

Alhaji Iddrisu Adam, the Tamale Metropolitan Chief Executive said some residents of the guinea worm endemic communities were refusing to allow health workers to apply "abate," which is a chemical that kills the guinea worm larvae, in the dams. He noted that their action was hampering the eradication process.

In a speech read for him, Alhaji Adam urged Miss Mbillah to discuss the issue with the local people during her rounds to clear their misconceptions and perceptions about the 'abate'. He appealed to development partners and other stakeholders to provide potable water to help eradicate the guinea worm and other water borne diseases from the Metropolis.