Ghana yet to be certified as Guinea worm-free country
Though Ghana broke transmission in Guinea worm cases in May 2010, it has not yet been certified as a Guinea worm-free country.
To gain this status, an international certification team has been invited to the country this July to find out about the country’s surveillance system.
The team will ensure that about 70 per cent of the population are aware of a cash reward of GH¢200 for anyone who reports seeing a worm hanging from the body of any person.
If satisfied, the team will certify the country.
Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, the Programme Manager for the eradication of Guinea worm, who made this known in an interview in Accra, said there were three phases to certification. He outlined them as the intervention, pre-certification phase, where transmission is broken, and the certification phase.
He also said in 1989 when the programme started, there were 180,000 cases but through the intervention of providing potable water, the country had been able to break the transmission of the disease.
He cited the Community Water and Sanitation Programme, which says 64 per cent of rural communities now have access to safe drinking water.
When asked what difference the certification would make to the country, Dr Asiedu-Bekoe explained that Guinea worm was a poverty-related disease and, therefore, not compatible with Ghana’s status as a middle-income country.
The programme manager appealed to the public to take active interest in ensuring that the country was certified.
The programme has currently intensified its education campaigns through the use of posters, gong-gong beaters and advertisements.