AS part of activities lined up for this year’s National Chocolate Day celebrations, the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has organised a health screening for residents of Anum Apapamu and adjoining communities in the Ayensuanu District of the Eastern Region.
The exercise saw at least 1,000 residents of the area screened for ailments like high blood pressure, high blood sugar, hypertension, hepatitis B and C, malaria, among others.
The National Chocolate Day, instituted in 2005, which coincides with Valentine’s Day, is intended to promote the consumption of chocolate and other cocoa based products to promote domestic tourism.
The exercise on the theme: “Chocolate Experience and My Holistic Wellbeing,” was used to distribute cocoa products to the residents and educate them on the importance of consuming cocoa.
Chief Pharmacist at the Cocoa Clinic, Dr Edward A. Amporful, speaking to journalists after the exercise, at Anum Apampamu, on Tuesday, said the event was to bring health care delivery to the doorstep of the people.
Dr Amporful said the exercise was important because the beneficiaries, mostly farmers, do not seek medical care for minor ailments, which eventually compound their health complications.
He said cocoa remained the antidote to some ailments the team was screening, hence the need to encourage the residents to consume cocoa products.
“Cocoa brings down high blood pressure, cocoa controls blood sugar and cocoa protects you against cancer and the number one cause of liver cancer is hepatitis B and cocoa protects you against that,” Dr Ampofo said.
The Queen mother of Anum Apapamu, Nana Efua Obiribea I, commended the COCOBOD for considering the people in the health screening exercise.
In her view, “health is wealth”, and the exercise would enhance the health of her subjects.
Until the education on the health benefits of cocoa consumption, the residents didn’t know that cocoa was a health ‘enabler’, she said, and urged the COCOBOD to organise the exercise in the area more regularly.
The Chief Cocoa Farmer for the area, Nana Dei Titi, said though the area was known for cocoa production, the residents were unable to buy cocoa supplements because they are expensive.
He suggested that cocoa products be made part of the package for cocoa farmers when they sell their beans.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI