Workers of the Port Health Unit of the Ghana Health Service at Tatale in the Northern Region depend on hired motorbikes popularly known as Okada to get to their border post at Natchamba in the Tatale/Sangule District.
Although some of the workers have their personal means of transport, the whole unit has no single vehicle to transport the workers for the five-kilometre journey from the Tatale township to the border post at Natchamba and back.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency at the station, Mr Solomon Tiyala, Head of the Unit at the Border said the situation was putting a lot of financial burdens on them as they had to use ‘Okada’ to and from work.
He said the situation also exposed the workers to the vagaries of the weather, considering the heat of the sun and sometimes very heavy rainfall.
He said they do not also have residential accommodation at the border post bordering Togo, which was tremendously affecting their 24-hour activities.
“Assuming we have a residential accommodation here, we would have been able to run an effective shift system on disease surveillance, check the immigrants effectively during outbreaks of diseases.”
Mr Tiyala said the Chamber and Hall structure that was constructed some years back did not befit the status of the Unit, considering the fact that it was in a district capital-Tatale.
He said apart from vehicles and accommodation, his outfit lacked computers and equipment to diagnose suspects of various diseases.
Although Mr Tiyala admitted that the had some gadgets to screen suspects, lack of a Refrigerator was another challenge that stifled their progress and called on the Tatale/Sangule District Assembly, Philanthropists and Non-Governmental Organisations to support them to carry out their mandate.
The irony of their challenges, Mr Tiyala said had to do with sanitation at the Border post. “Is it not an irony that, Port Health that has to ensure good sanitation everywhere in the district has no public place of convenience at the Border post?”
He told the GNA that officers at the Border were compelled to defecate in the bush amidst all kinds of hazards due to lack of toilets.
“How can we convince people to construct toilet facilities in various homes and offices, when we ourselves here do not have such facilities?”
The Port Health Unit of the Ghana Health Service undertakes disease surveillance at various border posts throughout the country.
Apart from that, they are also alerted to observe and, in some cases, diagnose some people, when they are suspected of carrying some diseases.
They also educate people on sanitation and the entire environment, ensuring cleanliness everywhere.