There have been several reported cases of firecracker injuries across the country. On December 30, 1999, GhanaWeb published a story about some 17 persons who suffered sight injuries as a result of the misuse of firecrackers popularly known as ‘knockout’.
A legislative instrument adopted by Parliament which became effective on December 16, 1999, prohibited the importation of certain firecrackers and display shells into the country. Offenders of this directive were liable to a fine or a term of imprisonment not exceeding a year.
Despite the ban on firecrackers, many continue to openly sell them on the streets and in shops. Measures employed by the Police service in previous years have also failed as more and more people continue to flout the directive during the Christmas festive period.
Read the full story originally published on December 30,1999, on Ghanaweb
Seventeen people reported with sight-threatening injuries at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra following the misuse of firecrackers, popularly referred to as knockout, during the Christmas celebration. They were all given emergency treatment. Majority of them would eventually lose sight in either one eye or both.
Dr. Stephen Akafo, acting Head of the Ophthalmology Unit of the hospital who made this known in an interview in Accra yesterday, said in most cases personnel of the unit had to stop attending to regular cases and rush to the theatres to operate on victims in the bid to save their sights. Unfortunately, he said most of the cases were bad and the operations could not save their sights.
He cited the sad case of a boy who has lost sight in both eyes because a bottle which contained a lighted fire cracker exploded into his face. According to the doctor, the fire cracker did not explode initially when it was put in the bottle so the boy went closer to find out what was happening and as he bent over the bottle, the cracker exploded. He said the sight of a two-year-old child has also been lost following the explosion of a fire cracker thrown by an unknown person, into her face whilst her mother was feeding her.
A 17-year-old victim, David Antah, who has lost sight in the right eye, told the Graphic that he went to buy food on Tuesday night when someone threw it into his face.
Dr. Akafo explained that the explosion of a fire cracker in one’s face, is enough to cause a rupture of the eye ball and when this happens there is very little chance of the victim’s sight being restored. On how best to contain the situation, Dr. Akafo said the use of fire crackers should be banned in the country with immediate effect.