I love Ghana, not just because I am Ghanaian or because I have spent most of my life here but because there is something special about Ghana. Take for instance her people; peace-loving, hospitable, passionate and oh, how can I forget about their good sense of humour ? There is something truly special about Ghana.
During the football season, all 25 million citizens become football analysts and during elections, they all become pollsters. Currently, the economic situation has turned all of us into economic analysts. And we do all of this with a good sense of humour. Maybe this is the reason we can still afford to laugh or smile because of jokes being shared on all forms of media, public transport and virtually anywhere two or more Ghanaians gather.
The country Ghana is so beautiful with a rich landscape and diverse culture but unfortunately the beauty of Ghana has been dimmed due to poor sanitation in both her urban and rural areas. It is not only her beauty which is being dimmed but also the inability of her populace to yield their potential as a result of sanitation-related diseases like malaria and yellow fever (known as vector borne diseases). Poor sanitation negatively affects tourism and productivity, causes the spending of huge sums of money for both prevention and curing of vector-borne diseases, and results in the loss of both present and future leaders. All of these negatively impact the economy of Ghana and perhaps Africa and the world at large.
In the years I have spent living in two of Ghana’s major cities, coming across stagnant water, choked gutters, overflowing waste bins, dirty public transport, littered public places and filthy markets have unfortunately become a normal sight for my eyes. I wonder if this poor sanitation is the result of our bad attitudes towards the environment or due to the inefficiency of the authorities charged with taking care of Ghana’s sanitation/environment or both. But with the negative implication of poor sanitation as well as an estimated 50% of the world’s population at risk of vector-borne diseases, I believe this is not the time to call the police but the ambulance. I believe it is time to join the World Health Organization campaign against vector-borne diseases, which was launched on 7th April, 2014, during the celebration of the World Health Day.
We the citizens of Ghana, Africa and the world at large must make a decision to take very good care of our environment considering the consequences doing otherwise. Indiscriminate littering, improper disposal of all forms of waste, poor food safety practices among others by individuals and groups must stop. It is time the authorities charged with keeping our environment clean, be equipped well and become more efficient and effective. It is time sensitization on the environment be intensified in our homes, schools, workplaces and communities. These and other interventions will help reduce if not eradicate vector-borne diseases to ensure our economies grow for citizens to enjoy life to the fullest and live it, longest.
Here are some simple things we can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones from vector-borne diseases.
1. Sleeping under a bednet
2. Wearing a long-sleeved shirt and trousers
3. Using insect repellents
4. Ensuring food safety and
5. Staying informed and taking proper precautions if engaged in travel, trade and migration as they increase your vulnerability.
Personal hygiene is even more important now because of the recent outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus. We can protect ourselves by avoiding close contact with Ebola patients, washing our hands regularly, wearing gloves and protective clothes when we handle meat and raising awareness about the outbreak.
Remember, it takes #Just1bite, though a small bite it yields big threats. Let’s say no to poor sanitation!
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