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Opinions of Friday, 8 February 2013

Columnist: Adjetey, Emmanuel

Is There Any Hope For Our Slums Dwellers?

Communicable diseases are most of the diseases that many Ghanaians today would not want to come across, yet our environmental conditions still remain very dirty. I believe no one on this earth would not want to be infected by these dreadful contagious diseases that have now remain in our country.

I for one cannot think of these diseases without talking about our people living in the slums. However, these contagious diseases also known as infectious diseases are considered to be the most dangerous diseases of all because these diseases can spread very rapidly from one person to another. These contagious diseases spread out easily if the uninfected person comes into direct contact with the person being infected with or the one suffering from these communicable diseases like the tuberculosis (TB), common cold, flu (influenza), cough, smallpox, chickenpox to mention a few.

In Ghana, especially the capital city Accra, when one is talking about slums the first place that comes into minds of people is the most very dense slum popularly known as Sodom and Gomorrah within the Accra Metropolis precisely old Fadama which is few meters away from the “Abbosey Okai Central Mosque”, and also not too far from the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC). Personally, I consider it as the overall slum in the Accra Township. Obviously, this slum, Sodom and Gomorrah, is very well-known in the country due to its grand size. And within the slum are people of all walks of life who engage themselves in different activities during day and night probably to make some livelihood.

Besides, anyone who visits this vicinity is first of all welcomed and greeted by the foul smell coupled on with its choked and dug out gutters also full with plastics, human and solid wastes of all kinds. Surprisingly, these wastes are mostly gathered right infront of their wooden structures and kiosks they sleep in as rooms. Moreover, the environment is surrounded with stagnant waters all over and tones of rubbish giving out bad scents with flies all over the surroundings and within all these dwellers cook their foods and sell and some as well transact other businesses in it. In fact, sanitation problem overthere is a very big issue which must be tackled with much seriousness than before. Also we know that in Ghana, when we talk about sanitation problem the argument is mostly related to politics of either repulsive tribal remarks or ethnocentric verbal punches but then the problem at heart is rather ignored to aggravate resulting to more health hazards.

If my memory serves me right, according to some statistics recorded by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) in 2011 revealed that Ghana’s slum growth rate stands at 4.7%, honestly, many at times I don’t understand why issues which are mostly paramount to the development of our national life are frequently ignored and I do keep on asking myself series of questions but I can’t provide myself with answers to those questions. So, what are really the plans of our government concerning the lives of our slums dwellers in the country? We can hardly believe our authorities are not paying much attention to all these refuses “socializing” with the people in country which some maybe as a result of these slums. Apparently, every government that comes assures us of eradicating these slums so to make our cities look like “paradise” but it is now obvious that those promises are purely political talks. Because, after capturing their political power the state of affairs of these slums rather worsens.

Besides, our authorities are very much aware that any social menaces associated with slums retards the development of our nation such as the poor sanitation, increase in poverty, prostitution, armed robbery and drug addiction by our youth also threatens the peace of the urban residents and the nation as a whole. So, what measures are our authorities putting in place to halt these menaces?

Furthermore, Ghanaians would be very much delighted to know the actual reasons why there is an upsurge of slums in the country. Or would it be as a result of lack of coordination and proper supervision among the institutions mandated to ensure proper planning of our cities and towns? On many occasions most slums inhabitants are also smashed down by epidemic cholera and people begin to wonder why this terrible disease is making waves in our country. But, we sometimes forget that cholera arises due to our own unconcerned attitudes as a result of we are unable to keep our surroundings clean. But then by clearing our choked and dug out gutters as well as stagnant waters to prevent flies and other bacterial and viral infections we would be free from health risks. Since flies and other flying insects may carry the bacterium or other diseases from one place to another, thereby spreading the disease anywhere in the country is very easy. Our authorities and leaders of this land should not forget that these infections are not respecter of person hence they must to do their best to educate the populace especially our slums occupants and besides they must also come out with some good preventive measures that would at least help reduce these menaces.

In conclusion, the sanitation condition of Sodom and Gomorrah should be a reminder or a review to our government and to our cities planners to be more proactive in their duties otherwise the taxpayers’ monies will rather be used to pay for something not carefully planned. And moreover, the government shouldn’t be awarding contracts to these town planners based on their political affiliations but rather by their expertise and competence. Because contracts shouldn’t be like groundnuts therefore should not be shared to anyone who appears in the political scene. Adding to that, one can boldly say that our previous governments awarded most contracts to these cities and town planners’ based on their political attachments and that has eventually resulted to the poor planning of our cities with slums coupled with poor sanitation.

*Cleanliness is next to godliness*……. *LONG LIVE GHANA!!!*

The Writer is a Student-Journalist at the Ghana Institute of Journalism.


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