PRESS RELEASE ON EMERGING HEALTH ISSUES IN THE UPPER REGION
ISSUED BY THE COALITION OF NGOS IN HEALTH, UPPER EAST REGION CHAPTER
HON. ALAGSKOMAH ASAKEYA NOBLE
CHAIRMAN OF THE UER CHAPTER
January 22, 2020
The Coalition in the Upper East Region has noted with worry massive air pollution of parts of the Bolgatanga Township caused by the frequent landing and take-offs of the Ghana Armed Forces aircrafts in the Bolgatanga stadium. On Tuesday January 22, 2020 at about 3:20 pm an aircraft believed to be a Ghana Armed Forces aircraft on one of its usual surveillance expeditions made a landing at the Bolgatanga Sports stadium resulting in massive air pollution of the sports stadium and its environs. The sports stadium and its environs were held in total darkness resulting from a thick carpet of dust particles which hovered for many minutes thus endangering the health of residents. Areas affected included Azonsoolum Hotel, Maclean View restaurant, all food vendors near the new market, Adoctor bar and many chop bars. The rest were the Church of Pentecost near the stadium and residents of Bukere.
The Bolgatanga sports stadium is located in a densely urbanized area where the operations of helicopters should be not permitted. Apart from the unacceptable levels of acoustic pollution produced by the helicopter’s frequent operation in the area of late, the amount of dust particles usually produced is exposing the people of the area to respiratory tract infections, while those with cases of bronchitis and asthma were exacerbated. It is estimated that air pollution alone accounts for 4.6 million deaths globally, the excessive production of dust by rotorcrafts and exposure of residents to same should therefore be a matter of concern to all well-meaning Ghanaians. It also calls for concerted effort to end the menace.
In order to control the environmental impact of rotorcrafts in the area and in other parts of the country the GCNH suggests all involved actors; the Ghana Armed Forces, the EPA, the RCC and the MMDAs should adopt measures that aim to reduce the environmental pollution and its associated risks, especially noise and air pollution, due to rotorcraft activity in order to preserve the health and peace of local residents. We suggest that in order to minimize air pollution resulting from helicopter landing and take-offs the ground should always be watered prior to the arrival, landing and take-off of the aircrafts. The GCNH, hopes that this wakeup call will illicit prompt response from the authorities, failure of which the GCNH will not hesitate to activate public show of opinion against the act.
Just when Ghana was close to eradicating polio in the country a new strain of polio known as vaccine derived polio virus type2 (cVDPV2) was reported in the Northern region of Ghana. Its victim was a two-year-old child from Andonyama, a sub-district of Chereponi in the Northern region. This phenomena could have dampened the spirit of the staff of Ghana Health Service against the backdrop of the huge resources that were sunk over the years to eliminate the disease. The Ghana health Service however, was very responsive as they quickly mobilized resources and ensured that the situation was promptly contained-A risk assessment was quickly conducted and a response promptly provided. This singular action by the Service is commendable and worth emulating by other institutions in the country. Though the occurrence of polio has been evasive due to the fact that it comes in different strains at different times and thus presents us with a lot of challenges, the good news is that its mode of infection remains the same; through the environment in the feces of an infected person. This gives us hope, since it puts us in the position to take the right preventive measures. For this reason the GCNH appeals to the Ministry of Health to provide the Ghana Health Service with the needed resource to continue to engage and work with its partners especially on its public education or sensitization mandate. We are calling on the all media houses to get involved in the exercise using their programming space. We think public sensitization will create the necessary awareness on how the disease is spread and more importantly, ways to prevent infections.
Precautions against the possible Occurrence of CSM- 2020
Ghana needs to be alert as far as the probable occurrence of CSM is concerned. We are prompted to make this call due to the approaching heat season especially in the Northern parts of Ghana. Even yet another cause for concern is the projection that carbon dioxide would hit 37 billion tons in 2019. What this means for sub-Saharan Africa and for that matter Ghana is that temperatures are expected to rise to unfavorable levels, hitting hard on the three northern regions. Our concern is that the incidence of CSM is usually prevalent during dry hot weathers, (though its most common is bacteria or viral infection), the scary global tally provided by the international team of scientists should therefore equally be a cause for concern for all, considering that the hot season is fast approaching. We suggest strongly, that the Ghana Health Service and its partners take precautionary measures by embarking on sensitization of the public especially schools, market places etc, in the three northern regions of Ghana and any other region with vulnerability to the disease, to ensure that we are not taken by surprise. By extension the media especially, local FM stations are equally encouraged to include awareness creation on the menace in their programmes since it is a shared responsibility. We may not be able to stop global warming or climate change soon, but we can support our people to adopt coping strategies that will go long way to minimize or prevent some of its effects especially, the occurrence and or spread of CSM infections.