Typhoid fever and tuberculosis have been identified as the most common communicable diseases among traditional caterers popularly known in Ghana as “chop bar keepers”, according to a report carried by the Ghana News Agency (GNA).
This revelation was made at a media sensitization forum in Sunyani.
Speaking at the forum, Mr. Wiredu Boampong, Chief Executive Officer of Network for Advocacy Development Alternatives (NADA), a service provider disclosed that a study the organization has conducted shows that the two ailments, have frequently proved positive in routine medical tests done by the caterers.
He added that “this revelation ties in with the fact that many areas in the region are endemic with typhoid fever in particular”.
The forum, sponsored by the Business Sector Advocacy Challenged Fund (BUSAC) at the cost of GH¢ 12,000 on the theme “towards a review of NHIS benefit list” was held for the first time in the region.
Making remarks at the forum, the regional chairman of the Ghana Traditional Caterers Association, Mr. Kingsley Hayford Ababio, advocated for the need to review the National Health Insurance Scheme to cover the yearly mandatory medical tests of its members.
The Association noted that the review of the policy would enhance the business of caterers in terms of job creation and income levels which would further translate into higher revenue for the government.
Mr. Ababio said the health of a large size of the nation’s workforce was dependent on the healthy meals sold by traditional caterers.
He said it was against this background that the Ministry of Health had put in place a mandatory policy for the caterers to take periodic medical tests especially on communicable diseases so as “not to put the health of consumers at risk”.
The Regional President noted with regret that members were losing income as a result of the added cost of paying for the test and any “resulting treatment for themselves and their employees, even though they have registered with the NHIS”.
“However the bane of this sector is that, the cost of such tests and that of any possible resultant treatment for the business operatives and their employees are more than the caterers could bear, hence the low compliance of this statutory requirement” Mr. Ababio stressed.
The review of the NHIS policy to cover the cost of the test, Mr. Ababio noted would encourage the caterers to register with the NHIS and raise the compliance level of the mandatory tests.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi