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Opinions of Sunday, 17 April 2011

Columnist: Adede, Mercy Bolus

Cholera Ghana’s headache with open Sewers!

In many African countries there is a problem that affects the lives of millions of Africans and it’s this, open sewage. It’s disgusting, spreads disease such cholera. Open sewers fouls the atmosphere for people living near it and I can promise that if you asked anyone about it they would agree, open sewers need to go.

Ghana a nation of natural resources yet the country need to begin the fight to stop this filthy presence on the streets of the cities. The oil from the jubilee field should pay for a proper sewage system in Accra and from then onwards the rest of Ghana. As at the moment mosquitoes thrive in cities and breed in open sewers just as they breed in the marshlands in the rest of Ghana, this spreads Malaria and we don’t need another story saying why that needs to be eradicated.

European nations and Asia also suffered out breaks of cholera in 1845. In 1850 is reached California overland by the Panama also built proper sewage systems in the 1800’s! In 1849 around springtime there were cholera explosions in France, Italy, Algeria and Tunisia in North Africa were all affected. England in those days also suffered a virulent onslaught; at its height, the epidemic claimed some 1,000 lives a day. In May 1849, cholera began spreading rapidly from foci in New York City and New Orleans until most of the United States east of the Rockies was affected. Canada, already struck by sea from Europe, was also suffered attacks by cholera overland from the United States. Mexico was similarly attacked, and a ship carried the disease from New Orleans to Panama late in 1849. There was a severe cholera attack in Egypt and along coastal North Africa. Most of Europe, including areas affected in 1850, was once again infected. Believe it or not for the first time, Sweden and Denmark and the Maltese and Ionian islands were all affected during that period of time. Greece, on the other hand remained untouched, as in 1837. All the countries mentioned earlier tackled the poor sanitation head on to eradicate Cholera. A findings from a research by Habicht et al (1988) on mother’s milk and sewage: their interactive effects on infant mortality in Malaysia reported that analogously that improvements in toilet sanitation appear to have reduced mortality twice as much among infants who did not breast-feed as among those who did.

To think that in the 21st century Ghana is still lag behind is frankly embarrassing. Ghana does not need to be in this current state, with the new money coming in soon we can set an example for the rest of Africa. This is sewage system, which keeps the filth underground and stops the pollution of our streets! I’m amazed that the previous Government would rather build golden Jubilee house rather than a sewage system but that is in the past and this is the present.

We need to think of the number of people who would be spared when we have closed sewers to mosquito breeding ground in open sewers? Is it impossible to dream that one day Accra may be a no Malaria zone? If this is what you want then a sewage system is the place to start. Yes! We have always lagged behind the developed nations but this does not need to be the case any longer as we have the money and with that the ability to shape Ghana, as we see fit not the way nature makes it. Is it Ghana’s destiny to lag behind no!

It is our destiny to development, to overcome the barriers of the past, to be an example once more of what it means to be an African state, to show to the world that we Ghanaians are a people to aspire to and have much to offer the world.

A sewage system would be a small step (yes it would be an impressive undertaking but who would all this money wasted?) to creating a new type of Ghana. A place where we where seen as taking the initiative a creating a future for children and families (the future rulers of this nation) that we can be proud of creating, to make it easier for them to develop in the way that they see fit. Think of Ghana as the economy is set to grow in double figures this next year, we are a stable democratic country in a region known for instability.

When the first African-American president came to our continent where did he go South Africa? Nigeria? No! It was Ghana. That should speaks for itself about the potential people abroad think our nation has.

As an end note, I say this to President John Attah- Mills, please do not think not of grandiose plans and expensive schemes which may look nice (golden jubilee house) but do not bring benefit to ordinary Ghanaians. Instead please consider plans, which bring prosperity and success to the average Ghanaian so that Ghana will be the African nation to invest in by the end of your office.

Having a clean air, welcoming surroundings would not only improve the lives of the population but also attract more tourists into the country thereby help improve the economy and confidence. This ambience of cleanliness translates as more job creation for many of the youths, entrepreneurs and better opportunities for the general public.

If Minister of Health in Ghana wants to make a difference to children and families then promoting and maintaining high initiation of breast-feeding with improvement basic amenities in all areas will help to completely eradicating Cholera in Ghana now.

Sanitation is a hot agenda because areas around Sodom and Gomorrah, Ashiaman and others badly need to be improved without fail.

Better housing strategies for the poor and needy should be a priority so that Ghana has improved environmental sanitation at markets, towns, cities and all villages. Rainwater harvesting could be used for hand washing in public places, although we Ghanaian love hand shaking as part of our culture heritage it becomes necessary to encourage hand washing as a routine in order to eradicate Cholera for good. This simply means good media coverage of solution to cholera for under ground sewerage, washing basins to be installed in all school toilets, churches, public area and markets.

Long term vision of sanitation improvements would mean Ghana young people’s future would be secure and there would be less migration to other countries for a better future.