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06.01.2020 Article

My Community! My Health

By Patrick Wunake
My Community! My Health
LISTEN JAN 6, 2020

Pantang hospital was formally opened by General I.K.Acheampong in 1975, headed by Dr.Sika-Nartey a Psychiatrist. The hospital is situated within the heart of a town called Pantang, about 1.6 kilometres off the Accra- Aburi road and 25 kilometres from Accra Central within the Ga East Municipal Districts. The hospital was originally planned to be a Pan-African Mental Health Village. As part of the activities of the Hospital, the hospital has a Nursing Training College for which the Ministry of Education is mandated to supervise the activities of the college. The Pantang Hospital is positioned as one of the biggest mental health institutions within the sub-region, providing mental health, mental illness and other health care services to communities in, around and beyond.

This article is essentially focused on the road network connecting the surrounding towns and communities within the Pantang Hospital. The years past, we have seen these neighboring communities surrounding the Hospital grow from a small population of people with human settlement into a community with very significant population (54,000.00 people) with settlement springing up so fast. Whiles a huge chunk of settlement spread evening across the opposite sides of the main road linking these communities, there are relatively more sects of settlement within the inner towns of these communities. The road linking these communities stretching from the Pantang junction through to Abokobi, about 5.36 km and relatively 45minutes drive given the nature of the road. 983.54 meters drive away to the south from the Pantang Hospital lies across the opposite side of the street is the very famous Pantang “Borla” (Landfill Site), now abandoned. Approximately four (2016) years ago the community dwellers organized a successful demonstration which saw the closure of the landfill site, this massive stretch of waste just about the size and height of a mountain (Covers Total area: 60,046.37 m² Total distance: 1.07 km with a height of 15.2m) and a breeding ground for mosquitoes. As if this is not enough, the communities around are off the national water grid system coupled with terrible road network linking these communities.

The road linking these communities is un-tiled riddled with dust and potholes. For the past years’ efforts have been made to fix the road network, to make the road more motorable. These efforts are strongly demonstrated in seasons of both political and district assembly elections. Unfortunate as it may sound, contractors over the years are awarded contracts to fill the potholes and level the deteriorated road with sand. For the community dwellers and motorists! It is an enigma using this road, given the haphazard and random motion of dust particles accompanying moving vehicles. The concentration of dust particles raises up to form a surge of cloud which resembles a falling fog, these dust particles then move into individual homes and apartments within the communities. Humans are wired to breathe in air(oxygen), but the people living within and around these communities breath in huge concentration of dust particles which is indeed harmful to their respiratory system. The most common risks for people who inhale dust as a major component of the air they breathe results in respiratory symptoms and airway obstruction within their nasal cavity.

This situation is obviously not an ideal one given that, in the heart of the communities lies a hospital facility that seeks to provide good health care. Yet the very National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), does not and may not adequately cover the cost of treating such deadly disease as Pneumoconiosis. Pneumoconiosis refers to the general term given to any form of lung disease usually caused by specks of dust that are breathed in and then deposited deep in the lungs causing aberration and damage to the lung. Pneumoconiosis is considered as occupational lung disease, reason being that it is the exposure to the specks of dust particles that can result in pneumoconiosis.

Some types of pneumoconiosis according to dust and lung reaction
Inorganic Dust Type of Disease Lung Reaction
Asbestos Asbestosis Fibrosis
Silica (Quartz) Silicosis Fibrosis
Coal Coal Pneumoconiosis Fibrosis
Beryllium Beryllium Disease Fibrosis
Tungsten Carbide Hard Metal Disease Fibrosis
Iron Siderosis No Fibrosis
Tin Stannosis No Fibrosis
Barium Baritosis No Fibrosis
Organic Dust
Mouldy hay, straw and grain Farmer's lung Fibrosis
Droppings and feathers Bird fancier's lung Fibrosis
Mouldy sugar can Bagassosis Fibrosis
Compose dust Mushroom worker's lung No Fibrosis
Dust or mist Humidifier fever No Fibrosis
Dust of heat-treated sludge Sewage sludge disease No Fibrosis
Mould dust Cheese washers' lung No Fibrosis
Dust of dander, hair particles and dried urine of rats Animal handlers' lung No Fibrosis

Source -

It is a political season again with enthusiasm! Like they also do; level the road, fill it up with sand, the sand particles then fliers off as dust into homes and residence. It is with heavy heart, my heart really goes out to the “Trotro” drivers and their fellow conductors(Mates) who day in and day out provide transportation services to the community dwellers. These drivers and conductors do not even see the significance of even covering their noise with a piece of cloth in other to at least filter some dust particles from reaching their lungs. The very marginal sect within the communities are soaking the dust particles into their lungs and yet they can’t afford the medical care associated with the disease, nevertheless this isn’t enough deterrent for the Politician who claim to serve from living a lavish life style and cruising in his V8. Ghana my country!!!

Author: Patrick Wunake, [email protected] +233 272068039

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