Health

Youth in galamsey communities reporting of chronic kidney diseases – Doctor

More young people in galamsey communities are being diagnosed with chronic kidney diseases.

The worrying development is as a result of inhalation of mercury vapour, a senior medical officer has said.

Medical Superintendent of the Eastern Regional Central Hospital, Dr Arko Akoto Ampaw, disclosed this on the sidelines of the launch of Hunger Project Interventions for Food Security, Health and Nutrition in Koforidua.

“The galamsey issue goes beyond the hospital and health. It is very clear to us exactly what the impact we are seeing. We are seeing a lot of Chronic kidney disease in younger people in communities that they are coming from. We are seeing mercury poisoning and heavy metal infection in their systems.”

Dr Ampaw observed government’s posture of only paying lip service in the fight against illegal mining activities is worsening the impact of unregulated mining.

“Even in the communities we have water borne diseases beginning to increase and we think that we need to step up the tide. The situation is worse even now. The lip service that we are all paying to the galamsey issues must stop. We must take concrete action, if we do not just pretend we are not seeing the galamsey’s adverse effect.”

The health professional pointed out donors’ efforts cannot be sustained if the environment of communities are destroyed.

“All these donors’ work are towards sustainability of communities they work in. If we destroy the environment which is the backbone of the communities, definitely the sustainability of the project is already undermined.”

The Hunger Project, a non-governmental organisation with funding from donors the Latter Day Saints Church, has launched an intervention for two communities – Bawale and Dwenase – within two districts – Okere and Fanteakwa – of the Eastern Region.

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The Project, which would last for two years, would target largely pupils and women in areas of food production, health, nutrition practices, sanitation and hygiene practices, improve incomes among others.

The Country Director of the Hunger Project, Samuel Afranie, urged personnel from the health, agric, education, and allied agencies to offer their full support to ensure the goals of the project meet SDG 1 to 12.

“All stakeholders in this project must take keen interest in it. We should be able to attain our objectives to help our people, food security, sanitation, health and nutrition. When we help their needs, we would do a lot of good to our country.”

The Eastern Regional Cordinating Director, John Donkor, says government is focused on a shift to a strategic centered business and demand approach for agriculture development.

“Government is focused on promoting a shift in agriculture development from supply driven approach to a strategic business centre and demand approach for food adequacy in the short term and food security in the long term.”

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