VRA takes measures to stop bilharzia in affected communities
In an effort to stem the spread of bilharzia among the inhabitants along the Volta River, the Volta River Authority (VRA) has constructed a 30 separate micro-flush standalone toilet facilities for the households in the Kebenu community, in the Central Tongu District, Volta Region.
The biofil toilet system which is constructed by Biological Filters and Composters Limited (Biofilcom) is considered as an alternative to KVIP that treats feacal matter on site in a more hygienic way, is odour free and also able to separate liquids and solid matters for better composition.
Speaking at the handing over, Mr Joseph, Sutherland, Deputy Chief Executive Officer in charge of Services, VRA, said the Biofil system was chosen based on the advice of Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development due to the inherent sanitary conditions associated with KVIPS.
He said Kebenu was chosen as the first beneficiary community because it had the highest bilharzia prevalence level with close to 85% of the population suffering from Urinary Schistosomiasis (bilharzia).
He mentioned Dikapanya in Ada East, Korankyi in Asuogyaman District, Morkplikpor in North Tongu and Dzabetator in South Tongu districts as the other areas earmarked to benefit from the Biolfil toilet system.
He said the project reflected the promises and commitments contained in VRA’s Community Development Programme (CDP), which was a framework for supporting the development of communities impacted by the VRA’s operations.
“The CDP was developed through a process of dialogue and consultation with our communities and outlines six areas of targeted support, including social infrastructure, for which the VRA spends more than two million cedis every year,” he added.
He said prior to the starting of the project, the VRA carried out an exercise to cluster households in the community to determine the sites for the construction and the estimated number of users per unit of the facility.
“This means that about four to five households would be entitled to a standalone or one toilet facility. Again a number of community sensitization and education exercises were carried on the system’s usage and maintenance and the bilhazia disease,” he added.
He urged members of the community to keep to the tenets of the use of the facilities and ensure that they functioned well and also help minimize the incidence of bilharzia.
Mr Sutherland also mentioned mass drug administration in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, community sensitization and education on the disease as some of the measures instituted by the VRA to curb the upsurge of bilharzia in communities along the Volta River which usually served as the defecating grounds for the communities along the Volta River.
Madam Mary Agbenyenu, District Chief Executive Officer, Kebenu, expressed her appreciation to the VRA for the kind gesture and other developmental initiatives it had embarked on for the people of Kebenu including the awarding of scholarship to brilliant students in the community.
Mr Dennis Buabeng, Project Engineer, Biofilcom, urged the inhabitants to take good care of the toilets by abiding by the rules governing their use in order to prolong their lifespan.
He also expressed his appreciation to the VRA for the project which would go a long way to curb incidences of bilharzia among the people of Kebenu.