Regional News of Sun, 25 Jan 20041

Guinea worm infection resurges in Nkwanta District

Nkwanta (VR), Jan. 25, GNA - The Nkwanta District has recorded a major resurgence of the guinea worm disease, confirming 1,653 cases last year, Dr Koku J. Awoonor-Williams, the District Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) announced at the weekend.

He said 371 cases representing 22 percent of the figure were treated according to the statistics.

Dr Awoonor-Williams who was briefing Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, Director-General of the GHS and his entourage on a familiarisation tour of some health facilities in the northern part of the region, said late detection, patient non-compliance with case management, beliefs and low knowledge on disease etiologist and prevention had contributed to the high incidence of the disease.

According to him, three communities namely, Bonakye, Agou-Fie and Sibi Hilltop were identified as highly endemic areas contributing 37 percent of the total, with the peak season being between February and March when streams, dams and ponds dry up.

He said more than one case was recorded in 75 communities while over five cases were reported in 30 other villages according to a research, which ranks the area as tops in Africa.

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Dr Awoonor-Williams said the situation was precarious, as the district had been identified as the major exporter of the disease to neighbouring Togo.

He said the lack of potable water was militating against all interventions to avert the situation, as the people often reverted to their former sources to draw water.

He said the Volta Region Community Water and Sanitation Project (VRCWSA) spent more than 400 million cedis in drilling boreholes but notice that the underground water table was far from the surface. Mr Stephen Becknell, Consultant, Global 2000 said during seasons of acute water shortages, the people had to walk about 12 kilometres to draw water, thus compounding the situation.

He said 198 cases were recorded in November and December, last year while 38 cases were recorded as at January 20, this year. Nana Obari Laliri Gmanja, Chief of Sibi Hilltop said the water situation had grounded the education system "as the few teachers who could not cope left for want of water".

Prof Akosa called for a concerted and multi sectoral approach towards tackling the issue and advised the people to begin harvesting and storing rainwater as a temporary measure, while they consult on alternative measures including the possibility of extending water from Damanko to the area.

Source: GNA

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