Health Experts Worried Over Outbreak of Diseases

…With Morgues, Toilets, Cemeteries Submerged in Volta

Health experts are raising serious health concerns about the resultant effects of spillage of the Akosombo Dam, saying the exercise may birth serious public health emergencies.

According to them, affected communities in the three regions, Volta, Eastern and Greater Accra, may likely suffer serious physical, mental and psychosocial problems after the whole exercise.

They have also warned several diseases, relating from unclean water, may be recorded in large scale.

Water-borne diseases, like typhoid, malaria, cholera, skin rashes and diarrhea, are expected in the coming days in these communities.

A lecturer at the University of Ghana’s School of Public Health, Prof. Richmond Aryeteey, while sympathizing with the communities, said there is going to be immediate and later challenges for these residents.

He said, in the aftermath, residents who reports say have largely been moved to high havens for safety, will suffer depression, post-traumatic stress and inability to sleep among others.

He said the fact that their whole life is or going to be disrupted is a big deal.

Prof. Aryeetey also said that reports of morgues, cemeteries, toilet facilities and others submerging is even more devastating, as this can have serious repercussions on the people.

He said the development will eventually affect the quality of water in these communities and in the end lead to serious infections.

“You talked about it [water] going into toilets, morgues and things like that. There is also the risk of it influencing the quality of water that people have so those are infection related effects,” he said in a recent interview with TV3.

Prof. Aryeetey feared the infections are going to be more and it will primarily be due to the unavailability of potable water.

“There are a range of infections people could experience,” he noted.

He also highlighted some of the immediate risks.

“When you look at floods like the scale at which we are seeing there are immediate impact that involves risks of danger. I mean people are walking some which look like up to their chests people could just get injured. Another one is risk of drowning…. It is not everybody would have the skills to be able to maneuver through water.”

The Volta Regional Environmental Health Officer, Stella Kumedzro, has also stated the situation for the affected residents is unpleasant.

“We saw some of the toilets submerged under the water, so it means all the contents in those toilets are mixed up with the flood water. Most of the people I saw still use the surface water for cooking, for bathing and for other household chores.

“So, the implications for public health are that it will trigger water-related diseases, skin rashes, diarrhea, typhoid among others. It is a very terrible situation at hand,” she said.

Meanwhile, District Director of Health at North Tongu, Michael Kofi Zigah, also indicated that there are a number of measures put in place to control any health challenges that may come up.

“We have been able to operationalize a mobile clinic here to just take care of minor conditions. We will keep a close watch on the people so that in case there is a health issue that we have not recorded before we can quickly take care of it. So, the mobile clinic is here for two things, manage illness and then conduct surveillance.

“We are looking at any condition that we pick up and further investigate. Any condition that comes out severe. What they are supposed to do is to refer, so the Bartor Catholic Hospital which is serving as district hospital will be taking care of them,” he added.


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