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Health News Sun, 4 Jun 2006

No drugs for bilharzias at Asiikuma-Odoben

Breman Kokoso (C/R), June 4, GNA - The Ghana Health Service (GHS) in the Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa District of the Central Region, is finding it difficult to purchase drugs for the treatment of bilharzias also known as schiostomiasis, which is prevalent in the area.

Mr Joshua Mensah, District Disease Control Officer, said this during an exercise to de-worm about 1,000 children from the Roman Catholic and Methodist Primary and Junior Secondary Schools at Breman Kokoso.

The quarterly a year exercise being conducted by the Philomena Gaisey Foundation based at Kokoso, is aimed at providing quality health-care for school children is also for the improvement of facilities at the schools.

He noted that about 2,000 children both enrolled and out of school suffering from the disease had not been treated because GHS had no funds to purchase drugs for the treatment.

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Mr Mensah said that bilharzias was the most common disease in the district because water sources were infected with Cyclops, the germ that caused the disease, adding that when children crossed to and from school and farms or had their bath they got infected. He said some of the endemic towns were Breman Asikuma, Kokoso Jamra, Fosuansa, Abuako, Odoben, Benin and Nankese. Mr Mensah noted that the District Health Management Team (DHMT) had made many appeals to the District Assembly for assistance to purchase the drugs since the Health Directorate alone could not afford to provide the treatment free of charge. According to Mr Mensah health experts had proved that the bilharzias could cause impotence when not treated early and appealed to the Assembly to provide potable water for communities where the disease was prevalent curb its spread.

Mr James Antwi Arthur, Secretary of the Foundation, said the organisation was organizing the de-worming exercise for school children to ensure a healthy society. He said more than 4,000 children at Kokoso had benefited form the exercise estimated at 90 million cedis. Mr Arthur stated that the partners of the Foundation in the Netherlands had donated school chairs, drinking cups, washing basins, footballs and jerseys worth 40 million cedis to the Catholic and Methodist schools.

He said the foreign counterpart had promised to construct a KIVP, kitchen and library for the schools this year.

Ms Phylis Nyakoh, Assembly Woman for Kokoso, said more than 400 mahogany seedlings donated by Mr Kwame Acheampong, a citizens of the town Kokoso had been planted on the compound to serve as a windbreak. She called on parents and teachers to educate their children to stop swimming in streams and rivers to avoid infection. Ms Mary Essuman, Headmistress of the Roman Catholic Primary School, on behalf of the teachers expressed appreciation to the Foundation for the exercise and said the children were always falling sick before the exercise.

Source: GNA