Keta Municipality, known for annual outbreaks of cholera, has this year escaped the epidemic, following the rolling out of a project dubbed, ‘Climatic Change and Health’ in the area.
The pilot project by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Global Environment Fund is to build capacity of health staff on climatic change and impact on disease outbreaks and unique challenges in care delivery.
Dr. Andrews Ayim, Keta Municipal Director of Ghana Health, confirmed this when a team from the UNDP came on a project impart assessment visit to the area at Agortoe.
He said for example, while Keta escaped the cholera net, its neighbour, Ketu South Municipality, had 113 cholera cases and is under surveillance to prevent a spill over from there.
Dr. Ayim said the Keta area, dotted with water bodies and interspersed by the lagoon and the sea, is always flooded, bringing with it increased diarrhoea, malaria and cholera cases and also creating challenges for care delivery.
He said the inaccessible nature of the place creates challenges in maternal and child health care delivery.
The project distributed cellular phones among health facilities, key staff and consultants and trained 180 disease surveillance volunteers across the area and supplied free Oral Dehydration Therapy (ORT).
The volunteers inform nurses on any outbreaks and for directives on possible interim solution while the nurses themselves consulted doctors for direction on a patient when in doubt.
Dr. Ayim said the project has created the zeal among stakeholders, resulting in the prevention of diarrhoea cases from getting worse thereby saving many lives.
Mr. Bossman Owusu, UNDP Communication Analyst, said the Programme was pleased with the success of the US$1.9 million project, which is also being done in Bongo in the Upper East Region and Gomoa in the Amansie West District.
He said major feats could be achieved through simple tools as done under the Climate project.
Ms Perfect Titiati, a Public Health Nurse at the Keta Municipal Health Directorate, said the project has helped in malaria and diarrhoea response.
She said maternal and child health also improved under the project, with feedbacks from former patients becoming more effective.
Ms Titiati said ORT centers were created at vantage points under health facilities for early fluid restoration when diarrhoea cases came up.
She cited poor network, floods, phone user challenges, absence of cholera screening laboratory as challenges facing the project.
Community Health Nurses at Kedzi and Tregui demonstrated how they have to battle floods to reach out to patients in homes.
They also showed some public toilets which have been flooded posing greater danger to the people.