Health News of 2014-02-19

Ghana to be declared guinea worm free by WHO

Ghana is on the verge of being declared a guinea worm free country by the World Health Organisation (WHO) if it continues to record no incidence of the disease by the end of 2014.

For the past three years, Ghana has not recorded a single case of guinea worm incident thereby qualifying the country for certification by the WHO.

Dr Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyira, Director-General of the Ghana Health Services (GHS) said this during the grand finale of the National Guinea Worm Quiz Competition for Basic Schools, which was held in Accra on Wednesday.

He said the initial count of Guinea worm cases in Ghana was about 180,000 in 1989 until the last case was reported in the Northern Region in May 2010.

“The Certification process also requires that we have in place a surveillance system that can detect and contain any guinea worm case within 24 hours, and also investigate all such cases within 24 hours,” he said.

He said in meeting the requirement by the WHO, the GHS had instituted a cash reward scheme of Ghc200 for any individual who would report a suspected case of the disease to health officials or Guinea Worm Volunteers in communities.

He said the organisation of the quiz by the GHS was one of the ways of heightening awareness on the disease among pupils who could in turn educate their peers and families.

“In this regard, the UNICEF, the Ghana Education Service and other partners supported the GHS to implement a nationwide quiz among basic schools across the country,” he said.

The quiz involved all districts of the country and had been organised through the districts, the zonal, up to the regional level.

Regional champions from the 10 regions were those who were selected to represent their regions in the finale.

The top four schools awarded after the finale were Agona Nsaba Islamic School from the Central Region, which won with 43 points; Nana Ankobia Takyiwa JHS from the Eastern Region taking the second slot with 40 points.

The third position was taken by Bopp JHS from the Western Region with 36 points and Wa Municipal Model JHS taking the fourth position with 31 points.

For their prizes, the winners, Agona Nsaba Islamic School took home 1,000 exercise books, a plaque and Certificates of Participation and school bags for participants, with Nana Ankobia Takyiwa School also taking home 800 exercise books, a plaque and Certificates of Participation and school bags for the participants.

Bopp JHS also took home 600 exercise books, a plaque, Certificates of Participation and school bags for participants with Wa Municipal Model JHS also taking home 400 exercise books, a plaque, Certificate of Participation and school bags for participants.

Consolation prizes of exercise books and bags were given to the participant from the other six regions who did not qualify for the grand finale.