President Directs Monthly Clean-Ups

President John Mahama  join the clean up exercise at Akoto-  Lante .Photo. Vincent DzatsePresident John Mahama has directed all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives to set aside a day, a month, for general clean-ups in their jurisdictions, to instill in the people, the virtues of cleanliness.

On the day, stalls and shops should be closed, so as to get everybody on board, to rid the country of filth.

The President, gave the directive, in the wake of the wide-spread cases of cholera outbreak in the country, and said it was unacceptable that in the 21st Century, cholera should claim many lives.

Addressing scores of people at the Bukom Square in Accra on Saturday, after joining them in a massive clean-up exercise, President Mahama announced that beginning next week, the government would commence the distribution of free litter bins to every household to discourage the indiscriminate dumping of refuse.

The country has experienced the highest cases of cholera outbreak in recent times, 9,000 cases of infection and 85 deaths in 46 out of the 110 districts, with the Greater Accra Region being the hardest hit.

According to health authorities at the La and the LEKMA General Hospitals, where President Mahama visited after the clean-up exercise, patients rushed there were already dead in more than one-third of the cases, suggesting that people did not report early enough at the hospitals, when they experienced symptoms of the disease.

The LEKMA Hospital alone is said to have, so far, recorded 488 cases of cholera, with seven deaths, with the situation at the La General Hospital no different, in terms of scale of spread.

President Mahama advocated that ORS be given to patients at the onset of symptoms, before being  sent to the hospitals, advising that people who experienced diarrhoea symptoms and vomited should not hesitate to report immediately, at a health facility.

He urged school children  not be charged fees when they attend to nature’s call at the various public toilets, to help forestall haphazard and open defecation.

He said the dumping of human excreta into the ocean would soon be over, with a more appropriate technology of disposing of liquid waste being developed.

President Mahama indicated that the Ministries of Health and Local Government are preparing a strategy that would ensure that the annual cases of cholera reduce to the barest minimum, including public education campaigns.

Mr. Mahama intimated that a cholera vaccine is being developed and some trials would commence soon, but in the meantime, it is expedient that the public observes basic hygienic practices such as hand washing with soap, and maintain a clean environment.

Noting that the out-patient departments of the hospitals visited were congested with cholera patients, he hinted that the Accra Metropolitan Assembly would construct temporary tents, dedicated to cholera cases at those facilities.

The President later presented fruits to the hospitals for the re-hydration of the cholera patients.

Earlier, Nii Lante Vanderpuije, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Member of Parliament for Odododiodoo, commended the people for turning out in their numbers for the clean-up, announcing that a cleanliness competition would be launched in the constituency to honour and recognise the good sanitary practitioners.

Under the auspices of the AMA and Zoomlion, the clean-up exercises, which started on Friday, witnessed the clearing of weeds, desilting of drains and fumigation at Akoto Lante and Nima. 
By Samuel Nuamah

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