Cholera outbreak in Ghana is unacceptable- union

The Health Service Workers Union (HSWU), expressed worry about the alarming rate at which cholera is spreading in many parts of the country with its associated deaths.

Mr Reynolds O. Tenkorang, Acting General Secretary of the Union said: “It is unacceptable for some Ghanaians to suffer and die from a preventable disease like cholera which is basically from filth”.

Addressing members and staff of Tema General Hospital, during the union’s week celebration, Mr Tenkorang appealed to stakeholders including Ministry of Health, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to ensure that all the garbage on the streets and elsewhere are properly disposed off.

Reports from Ghana Health Service (GHS) indicate that the current cholera outbreak started in September last year in the Central Region and had spread to Greater Accra, Eastern, Upper West and the Northern Regions.

The reported infected cases are about 5,308 and these figures are rising by the day. A total of 67 deaths has since been reported giving a death rate of 1.5 per cent.

Mr Tenkorang said the union is concerned about the outbreak of Ebola pandemic in the West Africa sub-region and its implication on health workers as well as the public.

“Health workers who are care givers are at great risk as they perform their legitimate duty of caring for the sick and the infected. More than 2296 persons, including health workers have died since the outbreak,” he said.

He said Government should take adequate care of care givers by putting in place the necessary control measures and necessary incentives.

“While calling on the Government and other stakeholders to provide the requisite personal protective equipment, we advise our members to observe the proper safety procedures like the wearing of gloves, face marks, boots…when they become involved in the treatment, nursing, feeding or bathing of a patient, laundry services, mortuary services and examination of the body or specimen,” he added.

Commenting on the second tier pension scheme, Mr Tenkorang said some members would qualify in January 2015 for lump sum payment although the institutional arrangement to facilitate the process is weak.

He said the situation is compounded by Government’s attempt to impose a pension trust on public workers.

Mr Tenkoprang said the act has the potential to cause serious upheaval in the public service because workers are prepared to defend their right to social protection under Act 766 and refuse to be under any government-tailored scheme.

“The union therefore wishes to advise the government to refrain from the negative and dangerous agenda it is pursuing and rather allow the registered schemes to operate and take steps to tackle the concerns that have come to the fore after the implementation of the law,” he said.

The members later joined their colleagues at Tema General Hospital to clean up the facility and presented 40 inches Led television GH₵ 3,200 to the Out Patients Department.

Reverend Richard Yeboah, National Chairman of HSWU said members donated to the hospital because it is union friendly.

Mr George Boakye-Yiadom, Services Administrator, who received the television on behalf of the hospital, thanked the union for the gesture. GNA

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