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Ghana Health Service upbeat about guinea worm eradication

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The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has instituted an award system, which would reward any person who report guinea worm cases with the sum of GH¢100, as part of measures to eradicate the disease.

The award system is aimed at encouraging the public to report all suspected cases of guinea worm for investigation and treatment.

It is estimated that guinea worm which is a neglected Tropical disease like buruli ulcer and yaws, will be the second transmittable disease to be eliminated within the next three years, after small pox, if safe drinking water is provided for endemic communities.

Dr John Eleeza, Deputy Director of Public Health in the Central Region told an orientation workshop organised by the Regional Health Directorate for media practitioners in Cape Coast on Wednesday, that it was only clean and safe drinking water that could break the cycle of the guinea worm disease.

He asked the media personnel to partner the GHS to carry out vigorous educational campaign to facilitate the declaration of Ghana free from guinea worm.

Dr Eleeza said from 2007 to 2011, the Region had not recorded guinea worm cases even though a whooping 6,251 incidents was reported in 1991.

He explained that the disease could be contracted by drinking water from stagnant ponds and other water bodies infected with the larvae of the parasite.

Dr Eleeza said the larva completes its full cycle within 10-14 months in the human body.

He said the disease was very painful and could deform its victims if not well treated and also slows down productivity, cause economic loss and retard the progress of a country.

He called on the government and district assemblies to ensure the provision of potable water and sanitation facilities to help stem the spread of communicable diseases.

Dr Eleeza said although there was no vaccine for the disease the alternative measures to check its transmission was to bar infected persons from stepping into water bodies as well as disinfecting ponds with Abate, a chemical which killed the larvae.

On Malaria, he noted that it was the number one disease of all Out of Patient Department cases in the country, which he said was a source of worry to the Service.

He said measures were being put in place to minimise its effects, and from July this year, treated bed nets would be supplied to every household in the Region.

The GHS has therefore trained health personnel who will in turn train volunteers in their districts who will move from house to the other to carry out the exercise.

The Regional Disease Control Officer, Mr Peter Deiter said from September last year to date, a total of 555 cholera cases with 21 deaths have been recorded.

Giving the breakdown, he said Awutu Senya recorded the highest with 284 cases with four deaths while Agona East had 100 cases with three deaths.

Agona West recorded 74 cases with four deaths followed by Effutu with 56 cases and four deaths and Gomoa East, 41 cases with six deaths.

Mr Deiter however, said no cases had been reported for the past two and half weeks and expressed optimism that within the third week, the disease would break its cycle if new cases were not recorded.

Source: GNA

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