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Regional News Wed, 13 Oct 2004

Poor sanitation causes high incidence of communicable diseases

Navrongo (UER), Oct. 13, GNA - Fifty-one children under the age of five years died from malaria at health institutions in the Kassena-Nankana District in 2003, while 17,764 others received treatment for the disease and survived, Ms. Rofina Asuru, District Director of Health Services, has said.

The pattern has not been different this year, with 15,541 malaria cases recorded from January to June, out of which many were children, she added.

Ms. Asuru expressed concern that despite the promotion of the use of insecticide treated bednets, the use of mosquito coil, sprays and prophylaxis, to prevent mosquito bites and stop the disease parasite from causing harm, malaria remained the top cause of out patient attendance and admission cases.

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She said a study conducted in the district by the Navrongo Health Research Centre showed that households spent about 49,000 cedis indirectly and 17,000 cedis directly to treat one episode of malaria. Ms. Asuru, who was speaking in Navrongo at the launching of the district's sanitation week, noted that choked drains, plastic bags and broken pots serve as good breeding grounds for the mosquito while indiscriminate disposal of waste and defecating in open places cause typhoid and diarrhoea diseases, which are also common in the area.

Ms. Asuru said, "When we defecate anywhere, flies settle on out exposed faeces, then settle on our food and contaminate it. The faeces is washed into out wells or rivers and when we drink the water or eat the food, we can get diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid and even polio. It is not surprising that typhoid cases are on the increase," she said. She appealed to the District Assembly to build more public places of convenience, provide collection bins for waste disposal, and institute monthly clean-up campaigns so as to improve the sanitary conditions of the area.

The sanitation week is being celebrated under the theme: "Sanitation, Essential For Good Health And Higher Productivity". Activities include symposia and clean-up exercises in Navrongo town and surrounding communities.

Source: GNA
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