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General News of Friday, 17 June 2011

Source: GNA

Ghana is on the verge of eradicating guinea worm

Tamale, June 17, GNA - Ghana is on the verge of interrupting the transmission of the guinea worm disease in the country. The Northern Region, which is the most endemic guinea worm area in the country has, for the past 13 consecutive months from May last year to June this year, not reported any cases of the disease since the last eight cases were recorded in January to May 2010.

Mr Gilbert Dery, the Northern Regional Coordinator of the Guinea Worm Eradication Programme, said this at a press briefing in Tamale on Thursday to throw light on the progress the country has so far made in the fight against the disease.

He said the current status of the disease in the region, which was the epic-centre of guinea worm in the country, reflected the same for the whole country adding, 93Technically Ghana has broken free from the guinea worm transmission but this is yet to be officially declared". Mr Dery said although a cash award of GHc 50, instituted to reward people who report cases of suspected guinea worm in their communities, had been increased to GHc 100 no new cases have been reported. He said as a result of the impressive success chalked in the fight against the disease, the Cater Centre would this year wean itself from the guinea worm programme in the country.

Mr Dery said what was left for the country to do was to undertake a rigorous three-year pre-certification and documentation process to ensure that the disease does not resurface. He said to help achieve this objective there was the need to ensure th= e availability of trained community based surveillance volunteers in all communities, ensure monthly disease surveillance reporting from all communities and evidence of supervision at all communities, at least once a month. There would also be the need to maintain awareness among health workers and communities in reporting suspected cases and additionally maintaining a response system to investigate information on suspected cases. More importantly, he said, there was the need to ensure regular and uninterrupted supply of clean drinking water to the communities and also ensure emergency response to broken down water systems. Speaking on maternal deaths in the region, Dr Jacob Mahama, Deputy Director of Health Services, said 56 maternal deaths were recorded in the region this year out of which 35 were recorded in the first quarter.