Cover dug its to prevent breeding ground for mosquitoes (Wednesday July 14, 2010 pg 46)

OPERATORS of various dumping sites across the country have been advised to cover dugouts to prevent the formation of ponds that serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

 Mr Paul Coonley Boateng, the Chief Executive Officer of Free Africa From Mosquitoes, (FAFM), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) with a focus on mosquito eradication,  gave the advice when he led a team of researchers to conduct a survey at the Pantang-Abokobi dumping site to identify hotbeds for breeding mosquitoes.

 Sited not far from the Pantang hospital, the Pantang dump site is one of the many dump sites serving as a holding place for tonnes of garbage generated by residents of Accra and its environs. The site has several ponds and containers filled with mosquito larvae.

  The exercise was also to help raise awareness among communities living close to the dumping sites of the need to maintain hygienic environments.

 Mr Boateng  noted that:  “Mosquitoes do not need an ocean to breed, they breed  where the least water is collected, hence the need to ensure that such an environment is not created for them.”

 According to him, such hotbeds  bred more than one million mosquitoes  in a matter of days  and  are mostly man-made, adding that when not handled properly in the rainy season,  such sites  would continue to be a threat to the health of the people.

  “Anopheles mosquitoes breed in natural water collections and, therefore, breeding increases drastically in the rainy season when water collects in containers that are thrown in the open”.

 He said the country cannot totally eradicate malaria and other mosquito- borne diseases, if the root cause of such diseases is not eliminated.

  He said as part of  plans to raise the needed awareness among the public, the FAFM would establish mosquito-eradication clubs in senior high schools.

 He said his organisation would also empower community volunteers to help monitor waste disposal at the community level.

 The research officer of the FAFM, Nii Abossey Kotey, said the notion that dumping sites did not need much attention was wrong.

 He added that “mosquitoes do fly and when the enabling environment is  created for them, they will even fly to cleaner surroundings.”

 According to the  World Health Organisation (WHO), one in every five childhood deaths in Ghana results from malaria.

 Despite all the interventions to reduce malaria cases, a total of 3,600,000 outpatient malaria cases were said to have been recorded throughout the public hospitals in the country last year, with 3,900 deaths.

 One thousand, five hundred of the deaths involved children under five years and 80 were pregnant women.
 Malaria infections in Africa are said to cause 400,000 cases of severe anaemia, contributing to maternal mortality across the continent.

 The WHO  also reported that up to 500 million people suffer from severe malaria, with most cases occurring in sub-Saharan Africa.

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