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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Dangers Of Iodine Defficiency Explained

By StephenK.Effah, Nyanyano
Thursday, 13 December 2007


Ghana loses about 22 million dollars annually, one per cent of its gross domestic product, due to loss in workforce productivity arising out of iodine deficiency, Dr. Elias Sory, Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, has revealed.

The situation, he explained, stems from reduction in mental functioning, energies and increased death caused by iodine deficiency in the country.

Dr. Sory said this yesterday in a speech read on his behalf at the inauguration of three iodisation machine, for the Nyanyano Salt Producers Association in the Central Region.

The project, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (DANIDA), through the World Food Programme, is a 590,000-dollar initiative to support efforts at combating iodine deficiency disorders in the country.

Dr Sory said Ghana achieved a 74 per cent household coverage of iodated salt consumption in 2005, but this dropped to 50 per cent in 2006 due to the cost and unavailability of iodised salt.

As a result of iodine deficiency, out of the about 81,200 babies born in the country in 2005, 2,400 became cretins (unintelligent), while 8,100 were severely mentally impaired and 70,600 experienced mild mental impairment.

"Inadequate intake of iodine at any stage of the life cycle therefore causes a series of diseases; intellectual, physical, hearing and speech disorders," he said.

Dr. Sory said the impact of iodine deficiency on health, education and labour output in the long run has grave social and economic implications for families, communities and the country at large.

He said the attainment of Ghana’s vision to become a middle- income country requires the best of contribution in terms of intellectual and physical productivity from all Ghanaians.

"We must, therefore, do all we can to eliminate if not reduce to the barest minimum, the causes of iodine deficiency disorders by promoting the consumption of iodine-rich foods," he added.

Dr Sory urged producers to continually produce quality salt with the right level of iodine because "it is not just that we want to attain 90 per cent or more household use of any kind of iodated salt."

Trudy Bower-Pirinis, WFP Representative, said although Ghana was recognised as the second largest producer of salt in West Africa after Senegal, it was not until 2005 that the WFP started to buy iodised salt locally.

That, she noted, was mainly due to the high cost of iodised salt in Ghana and the limited number of suppliers who could meet the WFP’s requirements.

"It is in view of this and to reinforce and contribute to the achievement of universal salt iodisation that the WFP, through a DANIDA grant, is providing technical assistance to selected small and medium scale salt producers."

She said the grant aims to strengthen local production of iodised salt and support business and distribution capacity building through women’s groups in northern Ghana where iodine deficiency disorders is endemic.

Ms. Bower-Pirinis said WFP is determined to develop Ghana as its regional procurement hub for the supply of food commodities in general including iodised salt, adding, "WFP needs thousands of tones of iodised salt annually to serve development and emergency operations throughout West Africa."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Buffer Zone Planned For Weija Area

By Stephen Kwabena Effah
Wednesday, 12 December 2007


The Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing is to create a buffer zone at the Weija Dam and Water Treatment Plant area to enable the company to fence the demarcated area.

In view of this, the demolition of unauthorised structures in the area which started on November 28, by the Ghana Water Company Limited has temporarily been suspended, Alhaji Boniface Abubakar Saddique, the sector Minister, told the Times yesterday.

He said the demolition would resume immediately after the buffer zone was created, but did not state when it will be done for the exercise to continue.

"We have to do it (the demolition) with passion and a human face," he said, adding "those who will be unfortunate and fall within the buffer zone will not be spared demolition."

On Novembner 28, some 25 unauthorised houses close to the Weija Dam were pulled down by a task force contracted by the Ghana Water Company.

They were among 2,000 structures originally earmarked to be pulled down following a warning to encroachers to move from the land belonging to the company since the structures pose a threat to the dam and the treatment plant.

The Minister was speaking to the Times after the Ghana Water Company had signed a 71-million dollar water supply contract with TAHAL Consulting Engineers Limited to instal a nine million gallon capacity Water Treatment Plant per day to residents of Accra-Tema Municipal Area, known as the ATMA Rurals.

Financed by the Dutch and Israeli governments, it will cover the Accra Plains area, the Coastal area east of Tema and the Kpong-Akuse area, Akwapim Ridge, Agomeda, Dodowa area and Somanya-Odumase area.

The water supply system for the project will be based on the Kpong Old Water Works. The project, divided into two, will run concurrent and is expected to be completed within 36 months after commencement.

Alhaji Saddique said government was committed to ensuring 81 percent water supply coverage by 2015, adding that government was making sure that monies given for contracts were maximised to be able to achieve the target.

Maxim Barel, Director of TAHAL in charge of Africa Operations said work on the project will start early next year.

Buffer Zone Planned For Weija Area

By Stephen Kwabena Effah
Wednesday, 12 December 2007


The Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing is to create a buffer zone at the Weija Dam and Water Treatment Plant area to enable the company to fence the demarcated area.

In view of this, the demolition of unauthorised structures in the area which started on November 28, by the Ghana Water Company Limited has temporarily been suspended, Alhaji Boniface Abubakar Saddique, the sector Minister, told the Times yesterday.

He said the demolition would resume immediately after the buffer zone was created, but did not state when it will be done for the exercise to continue.

"We have to do it (the demolition) with passion and a human face," he said, adding "those who will be unfortunate and fall within the buffer zone will not be spared demolition."

On Novembner 28, some 25 unauthorised houses close to the Weija Dam were pulled down by a task force contracted by the Ghana Water Company.

They were among 2,000 structures originally earmarked to be pulled down following a warning to encroachers to move from the land belonging to the company since the structures pose a threat to the dam and the treatment plant.

The Minister was speaking to the Times after the Ghana Water Company had signed a 71-million dollar water supply contract with TAHAL Consulting Engineers Limited to instal a nine million gallon capacity Water Treatment Plant per day to residents of Accra-Tema Municipal Area, known as the ATMA Rurals.

Financed by the Dutch and Israeli governments, it will cover the Accra Plains area, the Coastal area east of Tema and the Kpong-Akuse area, Akwapim Ridge, Agomeda, Dodowa area and Somanya-Odumase area.

The water supply system for the project will be based on the Kpong Old Water Works. The project, divided into two, will run concurrent and is expected to be completed within 36 months after commencement.

Alhaji Saddique said government was committed to ensuring 81 percent water supply coverage by 2015, adding that government was making sure that monies given for contracts were maximised to be able to achieve the target.

Maxim Barel, Director of TAHAL in charge of Africa Operations said work on the project will start early next year.