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22.02.2006 Health

Intensify efforts at reducing preventable diseases

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Tamale, Feb. 22, GNA - Alhaji Abu-Bakar Saddique Boniface, Northern Regional Minister, has urged health workers to intensify their efforts at reducing the spread of preventable diseases, such as malaria, guinea worm and cholera in the region.

He observed that the performance of the region in the fight against these diseases had not been the best, saying that, malaria, as a disease, required simple hygienic practices to control. "Conditions for breeding mosquitoes are rife everywhere in the region," he added.

Alhaji Boniface mentioned the accumulation of pools of stagnant water, indiscriminate defecation and reckless disposal of waste, as some of the fertile grounds for the breeding of mosquitoes. He, therefore, urged health authorities to team up with the district assemblies to improve sanitation in the towns. The Regional Minister was addressing the Regional Annual Review Meeting of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in Tamale on Tuesday. The meeting was under the theme: "Consolidating Teamwork to Bridge the Equity Gap".

The meeting, which brought together directors and district directors of health, management and administrative staff of the GHS and development partners in the health sector, reviewed the performance of the health sector in the region for the year 2005 and identified their successes and shortfalls and took measures to improve health delivery in the area this year.

District directorates of health in the region made presentations indicating their achievements and drawbacks and suggested the way forward.

The review meeting also discussed issues on strengthening the sub-district systems, data management in health service delivery, leadership and management and the "Avian Flu". Alhaji Boniface noted with concern that the region, which accounted for more than 50 per cent of reported cases of guinea worm infestation in the country, was also reported as leading in trachoma cases. He, therefore, urged the GHS to intensify its intervention methods by bringing on board all stakeholders like the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), the Information Services Department and the Department of Community Development to build a solid team to fight these diseases.

The Regional Minister commended health personnel in the region for their dedication to work and patriotism and urged them to put in their best and work as a team to improve health care delivery in the region. Dr Elias Sory, the Regional Director of Health, said the year 2005 was a challenging one for health workers in the region, because there were inadequate provision of logistics and a shortfall in manpower. "But in spite of the difficulties, the region performed creditably by winning most of the national awards," he said.