Vice President John Dramani Mahama has called on the volunteers and coordinators of the Guinea Worm Eradication Programme to be extra vigilant in ensuring that guinea worm did not resurface as the country entered the final phase of the eradication of the disease.
He called on the volunteers and the people to intensify their surveillance and report any suspected cases and to ensure that new cases were not brought into the country.
Vice President Mahama made the call at a durbar in Diare, in the Savelugu/Naton District of the Northern Region on Wednesday, as part of activities to mark the end of eradication of the disease in Ghana.
At the durbar, Madam Azara Zakaria, a middle-aged woman, was presented to the public as the person with last case of guinea worm in the country.
Diare has been known as the last endemic area of guinea worm infestation in the country, and for that matter the whole country has not recorded any cases of the disease for the past 13 months.
Vice President Mahama said guinea worm was not only a health problem but an economic one as well, and observed that during the height of the guinea worm epidemic almost half of the population of some communities could be paralyzed by the disease making them unproductive.
He commended the volunteers, coordinators and the country’s development partners for their assistance in helping to raid the country of guinea worm.
Dr Sylvester Anemana, Chief Director of the Ministry of Health (MOH), sad the success story of the guinea worm eradication programme was due to the collaboration between the communities and the MOH.
He said as the country moved into the final phase of eradication of the disease, which was the surveillance period, there was the need to maintain and intensify the collaboration of stakeholders.
The Regent of Diare, Abukari Abdulai, appealed to government to provide portable water to prevent a relapse of the people into old habits that brought about the disease.
He also appealed for the creation of a separate constituency for the Diare community, which he said, was lagging behind in development.
In a related development, Vice President Mahama inspected the Tamale Water Extension Project at Savelugu, which forms part of efforts to provide portable water to the people to help sustain the achievements made in the eradication of the guinea worm disease.
Mr Matthew Armah, Chief Operating Officer of the Millennium Development Authority, said the implementation of the Project was under four contract lots consisting of the Tamale Metropolis, Savelugu/Nanton, Tolon/Kumbungu and the Pong Tamale environs.
He said the project that cost US 5,283 million was expected to benefit 50,000 people.
The Savelugu project is 70 percent complete while the entire contracts were scheduled to be completed by October 2011.