FOR the first time since the launch of the National Guinea Worm Eradication Programme (GWEP) in 1989, the month of November 2009 has recorded a zero case detection.
Officials say the development is significant, as it indicates that there is a forward march in the fight against the water-borne disease.
They, however, warned that it was not a sign of the complete eradication of the disease.
The National Programmes Manager of the GWEP, Dr Andrew Seidu-Korkor, said in an interview that the situation was a testimony that the country was moving forward in the fight against the disease.
He, however, said until no case had been reported for 12 months, “we cannot say we are free from the disease”.
Dr Seidu-Korkor, who was speaking after the closing of the annual review session of the programme in Kumasi, explained that “what we are seeing is the result of the systematic implementation of various activities to contain the disease”.
He mentioned some of the interventions as breaking guinea worm transmission, strengthening surveillance, social mobilisation and advocacy, among others.
He cited one activity that had contributed immensely to the fight against the disease as the engagement of people to police water sources to make sure no one with signs of the disease stepped in the water.
The programmes manager stated that 240 cases had been reported this year, as against 501 in 2008 and 3,558 in 2007.
“This year, the cases were reported in the Northern, Brong Ahafo, Ashanti and Eastern regions, with the Northern Region alone accounting for 98 per cent of the reported cases,” he added.
Addressing the closing ceremony of the review programme, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Elias Sory, noted the harm guinea worm had brought on many people in the country and said the recent successes chalked up in the fight should spur all players on to intensify their activities.
The programme was the initiative of the Ministry of Health, with sponsorship from the WHO, UNICEF, the Carter Centre and JICA.