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21.10.2005 Regional News

Teachers at Barekese express concern

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Barekese (Ash), Oct.21, GNA - Teachers at Barekese have expressed concern about a possible outbreak of an epidemic from a community refuse dump sited near a cluster of schools, persistent defecation on the premises and in the classrooms.

Madam Grace Angelina Duah, Headteacher of a school said the environment was polluted with human excreta, weedy and infested with dangerous reptiles that snakes and rodents frequently enter the classrooms when classes were in session causing panic and fear among the pupils and teachers.

She was speaking at a meeting organized by the Atwima-Nwabiagya District Education Directorate's unit of School Health Education Programme (SHEP) in collaboration with the environmental health department for school food vendors, teachers, pupils and stakeholders at Barekese on Thursday.

The meeting was to educate the stakeholders on the prevention of cholera and other communicable diseases, keeping healthy environment, sanitation and personal hygiene.

Madam Duah said the teachers' persistent appeals, petitions and protests to the community to rid the school of filth and possible disaster yielded no positive and favourable response. Mr Ebenezer Tettey Annan, District Environmental Health Officer, who inspected the site, condemned the attitude of the community and warned that the schools would be closed down if the community failed to address the problem.

He noted that health of the pupils and the teachers were under threat and Directorate would deal with offenders when caught. Mr Annan called on food vendors to keep their surroundings clean and practice healthy personal hygiene to prevent an outbreak of cholera in the schools.

Madam Irene Comfort Badu, District SHEP Coordinator, reminded food vendors of their crucial responsibility to promote and protect health of the pupils by preparing hygienic and balanced diet for them. "The tendency to maximize profit from your trade without considering the health needs of the pupils would not be tolerated by the Directorate," She added.

Madam Badu said the increasing reported cases of cholera outbreak in some communities should serve as a warning to Ghanaians to enforce strict healthy environmental and personal hygiene practices. She banned the sale of 'poki', 'abele' and food to pupils to protect them from contracting cholera at Bokankye and Barekuma where similar meetings were held.

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