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Regional News of Wednesday, 2 July 2003

Source: GNA

Safe Water for Guinea Worm communities

Accra, July 2, GNA- Cabinet has approved 1.5 million dollars for the emergency provision of safe water to guinea worm endemic communities in Northern, Brong Ahafo and Volta Regions.

Subsequently, the Ministry of Works and Housing has received the amount from the HIPC funds to provide 70 boreholes in the 57 most endemic communities in the Northern Region and 40 in the Brong Ahafo and the Volta regions.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie said this in Parliament on Wednesday in an answer to a question by Alhaji Amadu Ali, NDC Attebubu South, on behalf of Mr Yaw Effah-Baafi, NDC Kintampo, as to the steps his ministry was taking to wipe out or drastically reduce the level of guinea worm infestation in the northern part of the Kintampo District.

He said the Brong Ahafo would receive 14 boreholes out of which 5 communities in the Kintampo district - Mansra, Kadelso, Portor 1, Kurawura and Abodwesekrom would benefit.

Dr Afriyie said, following a field trip a year ago by the National Co-ordinators of UNICEF, WHO and Global 2000, it was observed that several endemic villages were not patronising the boreholes due to the high level of salinity in the water.

The UNICEF therefore, provided 68 million cedis and 290 bags of cement to construct hand-dug wells in the endemic communities in Kintampo

'Several new initiatives have been put in place over the past year that should drastically reduce guinea worm in the Kintampo District'

These include the appointment of full time guinea worm technical assistants to highly endemic areas and provision of equipment such as filters and medical kits to health volunteers.

The Ghana Red Cross Society has also engaged its mother club volunteers at the village level to improve surveillance and health education.

Dr Afriyie said a centre to contain guinea worm patients has been operating in Mansra since December 2002.