The Environmental Health Officers’ Association (GEHOA) in Collaboration with the Local Government Workers Union, Health Service Workers Union and Ghana Federation of Allied Health Professions have established an eight week programme dubbed: Annul Environmental Health and Sanitation Promotion Campaign (AEHSPC).Mr Julius Debrah, Local Government Minister, Mr Samuel Sarpong, Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Kojo Bonsu, Mayor of Kumasi and Mr Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuiye, a Deputy Local Government Minister inspecting the waste bins and other sanitation equipment
The programme was aimed at bringing Environmental Health Professionals (EHP) in Ghana and its Labour unions on board to contribute to contribute towards the ongoing National Sanitation Campaign currently being embarked by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLG&RD).

The programme which would last for eight (8) weeks is under the theme: “Kick cholera out of Ghana; the role of the Environmental Health Professionals(EHP)”.

The General Secretary of the Ghana Environmental Health Officers’ Association Mr. William Freeman Goku, hinted that idea of the campaign was engendered from the devastating effects of frequent outbreaks of sanitation related diseases in the country.
“Such as cholera which killed not less than 190 people and rendered about 23,432 morbid who spent number or weeks out of work because they bedridden(WHO Outbreak Bulletin Volume.4 Issue 4, 13/10/2015)” he explained.

Adding that, not only cholera was the issue but other related diseases such as malaria, typhoid fever, and helminthic infestation as well as other diarrheal diseases are also serious concerns without leaving out the dreadful Ebola.

“It is in records that about 75% of diseases reported at the hospitals in Ghana are sanitation related and more seriously poor sanitation is costing Ghana US$290 million annually(World Bank Report)”.

This he said, records available also indicate that cholera outbreak in 2014 affected over 23,600 people was estimated to cost the country not less than US$13.3 million excluding other economic implications as cost relating to loss productivity.

Statistics also indicates that Ghana has met the millennium development goal target on water, but sanitation lags behind.

“We are of the view that a more concerted efforts is required to tackle the issue of sanitation which is currently stands at 14% according to the Joint Monitoring Platform (JMP)” he said.

The programme which would last for eight weeks has among others under listed activities to be executed:

Community Cholera education by use of information Van positioned at a center in the evenings to show video clips on dangers, causes and preventive interventions of cholera,
Training of Districts Cholera Response Team to sensitize the community in Churches, mosque and other religious bodies,

Using Environmental Health Officers and other Health staffs to embark on house to house cholera education and also taking data in addition to the distribution of aqua tabs where necessary.

Others are: Cholera education for targeted groups such as food vendors, head porters, traditional caterers, sachet water producer/distributors, Public toilet operators and managers as well as community opinion leaders.
And also embarking on massive clean-ups exercise where the communities would be awarded prizes at the end of the program depending on the level of participation at a grand durbar which will be held at Adabraka in the Osu- Klottey Sub-Metro of Accra Metro Assembly.

By: Isaac Kofi Dzokpo/NewsGhana.com.gh

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