Traditional methods of cooking with wood -fuel is believed to be the major cause some chronic diseases among women and girls, stakeholders at a forum organized in Navrongo in the Kassena-Nankana Municipal, have said.
The stakeholders drawn from communities in the Kassena-Nankana Municipal and the Kassena-Nankana West District said eye infections, lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses could be attributed to the traditional methods of cooking where a lot of smoke from the burning wood is inhaled.
The event attracted stakeholders including the planning officers, assembly members, the Ghana Education Service (GES), the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and traditional rulers, among others, from the two districts.
It was organized by the Organization for Indigenous Initiatives and Sustainability (ORGIIS-Ghana), an environment focused non-governmental organization with funding support from SNV, the Netherlands Development Organization.
Madam Rufina Asure, a former Health Director of the Bongo District, who is also a government appointee of the Kassena-Nankana Municipal, expressed worry that some women in the rural areas still use cow dung and plant residues for cooking meals and the smoke emanating from such traditional cooking systems contributed to a wide range of chronic and respiratory illnesses.
She said one of the pragmatic measures that could be adopted to fast-track the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was clean cooking adding that “clean cooking can contribute to an enabling environment to attain the entire Agenda 2030 and help deliver ten of the SDGs”.
Whilst appealing to government to subsidize Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) including the cylinders and their accessories, the participants, also pleaded with traditional authorities to help release land for women to plant woodlots to secure fuel wood for cooking.
They called on government and the National Petroleum Authority to create the necessary environment for the private sector to set up gas filling stations in rural communities.
Mr Idrissu Andani, the Development Planning Officer of the Kassena-Nankana Municipal, commended the NGO and the funding agency for supporting the assemblies to mainstream the clean energy for cooking into their plans adding that was in line with the climate change and vulnerability programme that all the assemblies in the country were expected to execute.
He said the programme is also well situated for the Greening Ghana Economy being implemented by government and gave the assurance that the assemblies would work hard to ensure that all the communities embrace the concept of clean energy for cooking.
Mr Tahiru Mohammed Salifu, the Development Planning Officer of the Kassena-Nankana West District Assembly, said preliminary data gathered so far, with support from ORGIIS-Ghana and SNV, indicates that majority of the community members lack knowledge about the existence of clean cooking stoves providers in the area.
Mr Clifford Amoah Adagenera, the Senior Programme Officer of ORGIIS-Ghana, said it is against this background that his outfit with funding from SNV, the Netherlands Development Organization, was implementing the ‘Voice for Change Partnership Project’, as part of the cleaner energy components including LPG and other improved cooking stoves in the Kassena-Nankana Municipal and Kassena-Nankana West District in the Upper East Region.
Mr Dramani Bukari, the Energy Advisor of SNV, commended the two assemblies for taking the initiative, and appealed to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to ensure that all MMDAs in the country mainstream the idea into their development plans.