SIX organisations have initiated a project to eradicate or reduce to the barest minimum, Buruli Ulcer, a tropical flesh eating disease in endemic areas of the country.
The organisations are Rotary Clubs of Sunyani Central and Rocky Mount, United States of America (USA), the Rotary Foundation in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service (GHS), George Fisher Jubilee Clean Water Foundation based in Switzerland and the Carter Centre, Ghana.
Six regions in the country, namely the Brong Ahafo, Western, Eastern, Ashanti, Central and the Greater Accra have been zoned as the Buruli Ulcer endemic areas in the country.
The nation records at least 1,000 new cases of the disease annually which affects mostly children under 15, according to the Ghana Buruli Ulcer Eradication Project.
Buruli Ulcer is also said to be one of the tropical diseases in the country that has been neglected, hence the partnership to fight it through the provision of clean water at a cost of $103,000. The Ghana Buruli Ulcer Eradication Project under the GHS has hailed the intervention.
Currently, the project has received a grant of $72,000 for the drilling of boreholes in the Brong Ahafo and Western regions, while the Rotary Foundation, Rotary Club of Rocky Mount, USA, George Fisher Foundation other partners of the project have also contributed $100,000 and $70,000, respectively towards the project.
Additional $275,000 is expected by the close of this year under the project for the drilling of more wells and boreholes, the repair of 13 existing wells, the construction of 179 sanitation facilities, and education on water-borne diseases and basic medical care for the endemic areas in the country.
Interacting with the media at a ceremony in Sunyani organised by the Rotary Club of Sunyani Central to throw more light on the project, the Director of the Ghana Buruli Ulcer Eradication Project, Dr Edwin Ampadu, lauded the initiative.
He said the project, which sought to give attention to Buruli Ulcer in the same manner as the guinea worm eradication programme, would help deal with the disease in the country.
Dr Ampadu said the disease was caused by drinking from unsafe water sources and was prevalent in areas where the environment is disturbed by human activities.
He, therefore, expressed the hope that the approach to deal with the disease through the provision of safe drinking water and education would help reduce it to the barest minimum in the endemic areas.
Dr Ampadu disclosed that Upper Denkyira in the Central Region recorded the highest number of Buruli Ulcer cases with the severest cases being recorded in the Ga West District in the Greater Accra region, while eight municipalities and districts in the Brong Ahafo Region, including Sunyani, Goaso, Kukuom, Dadiasoaba, Nkoranza were the endemic areas in the region.
He stated that the government had made the treatment of Buruli Ulcer free-of-charge in the country.
The President of the Rotary Club of Sunyani Central, Rotarian Samuel Ankama Obour, said the partnership was to provide clean and safe drinking water to fight Buruli Ulcer and other water-borne diseases in the endemic areas.
Mr Obour said apart from the Buruli Ulcer project, the club, with the support of Rotary Clubs of Nanaimo and Lantzville, both in Canada and the Rotary Foundation, had purchased computers, textbooks, cupboards, teaching aids, basic health and sanitation materials worth $20,765 for the pupils of the Sunyani Municipal Primary School.
He added that the club had through those partners, constructed one mechanised borehole, purchased a computer and accessories and mosquito nets worth $11,735 for Korkor’s Charity Orphanage at Techiman.
Mr Obour stated that with support from Rotary Clubs of Rocky Mount, Crossville and Rotary Foundation, the club was undertaking another project to provide clean and safe water in the Brong Ahafo and Western regions at a cost of $51,926 to eliminate guinea-worm and reduce water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera and dysentery and the provision of boreholes for five rural communities in the Kassena-Nankana District in the Upper East Region at a cost of $38,000.
Pastor Walter Hughes from the Rotary Club of Rocky Mount and Mr Jim Niquitte, the Director of Cater Centre in Ghana, who took turns to speak at the ceremony, were hopeful that the project would help eradicate Buruli Ulcer from Ghana.
They, however, called for support from all to achieve the objectives of the project.