Community leaders worry about alcohol abuse in Navrongo

The high intake and abuse of alcohol among the youth in Navrongo and its adjoining communities have become a major source of concern for opinion leaders and other stakeholders in the area.

Additionally, the increasing reckless behavior of some motor riders, resulting in serious injuries and deaths, has become an added burden to health and traditional authorities in these communities.

These were made known at a durbar held at Navrongo in the Upper East region.The Navrongo Health Research Centre (NHRC) organized the durbar for chiefs from the Kassena-Nankana and Builsa districts.

It was a community engagement programme to inform the traditional authorities about the activities of the centre and to seek their support as part of efforts to improve the wellbeing of the people in the area.

Present at the gathering were health officials and district chief executives from the Kassena-Nankana and Builsa districts.

Other issues of concerns raised during the meeting was the rising trend of people who are hypertensive but are not aware of their conditions and therefore do not seek timely intervention.

Researchers and scientists of NHRC including the head of the Clinical Science Department at the NHRC, Dr. Nana Akosua Ansah and Dr. Raymond Aborigo, Head of Social Science and Public Health at the NHRC took turns to brief the chiefs about some of the clinical trials, social science and biomedical research activities taking place at the centre.

NHRC, over the past 30 years, has been involved in various research activities with significant impact in and outside Ghana such as the Vitamin A Supplementation Trial (VAST) and the RTS,S malaria vaccine trial. The centre is currently working on a Lassa fever vaccine trial. 

Among the many achievements of the NHRC, is the community health and planning services (CHPS) concept, which involves putting nurses right within the community, and bringing primary health care to dispersed settlements where people are reluctant to attend health centres because of the distance.

The Navrongo CHPS model was copied across Africa as an ingenious solution to save lives at the community level.

The centre has helped in building the capacity of its staff and created employment opportunities for a number of people.

It trained indigenes to take up positions, develop their research career and solve the difficulty in getting professionals to relocate there.

Dr. Patrick Odum Ansah, the Director of the NHRC, urged the chiefs to get the youth in the area to pursue academic excellence so they can enhance their chances of gaining employment with the NHRC. 

The Paramount Chief of the Navrongo traditional area, Pe Denis Aneakwo Asagpaare II, applauded the centre for its work and acknowledged the impact it has made on the lives of the people.

By Eunice Menka
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