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04.10.2005 General News

Ghana close to eradication of Polio - Quashigah

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Accra, Oct. 4, GNA - Health Minister Courage Quashigah said on Tuesday that with the periodic immunisation programmes, the country was very close to eradicating Polio.

He noted, however, that other eradication programmes like guinea worm, whose total eradication lay in the provision of safe and potable water to endemic areas, and onchocerciasis and glaucoma had not met with much success.

Major Quashigah was speaking in Accra on Tuesday when he took his turn at the monthly meet-the-press series organised by the Ministry of Information.

On HIV/AIDS, the Minister noted with regret that despite the high level of awareness creation, prevention and case management, there was no signi ficant change in the prevalence rate, which is about 3.1 per cent.

Non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, stroke and cancer were gradually becoming a major cause of mortality, morbidity and disability in most developing countries including Ghana, he said. Major Quashigah urged Ghanaians to control their intake of alcohol and nutritional deficient foods that were high in fat, sugar and salt and increase the levels of physical activity at home, school and at work.

Major Quashigah attributed numerous diseases plaguing the nation to lack of enforcement of laws on occupational safety, health hazards, unsanitary environments, poor nutrition and indiscipline in the society. He said most of the diseases that afflicted the nation emanated from the unacceptable and deplorable environmental conditions that had engulfed the population.

Major Quashigah said after consciously or unconsciously wallowing in such a horrendous environment and degenerative lifestyles producing all these illness, "we turn round and cry for more hospitals and health facilities.

Mr Emmanuel Agyarko, Chief Executive of Food and Drugs Board, answering questions on peddling of drugs in public buses and advertisements of drugs on the television and radio, said all efforts to address the problem with the media had not yielded any positive results. "We don't want to use the last resort of going to the courts. We see the media as our ally and we do not want to have any war with them," he said.

He said the Board would collaborate with other agencies like the Pharmacy Council to intensify public education on the use of over the counter drugs and the dangers in buying drugs from unauthorised chemical sellers.

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