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Chiefs Must Be Involved In Public Health Education   
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Two medical practitioners have stressed the need for traditional authorities to play active roles in educating Ghanaians against public health diseases.

     According to the medical practitioners the recent outbreak of cholera in the country and the Ebola scourge in the West African sub-region should be a wake-up call for all stakeholders to be involved in the educational drive.

     Dr Kofi Bonney, a Virologist at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, and Dr Philip Amoo, the Head of Public Health Department at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, made the call in Sekondi.

     They were addressing the Western Regional House of Chiefs and Queens at a day’s workshop organised by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung on the “Role of Traditional Authorities in Public Health Crisis.”

     Dr Amoo said traditional authorities, especially, should be brought on-board to team up with public health institutions to educate the public on the need to maintain personal and environmental hygiene.

     He said traditional authorities were not only influential but were directly in contact with their communities who would readily comply with their directives.

     Dr Amoo said air borne diseases were contagious resulting from negative environmental practices which required the observation of personal and environmental cleanliness to prevent.

     He said epidemics and air borne diseases like Ebola and cholera had similar symptoms like headache, vomiting, chills, nausea and fever, and called on those who experienced it to rush to any health facility for immediate attention.
     Dr Bonney, on his part, advised against self medication as that could result in complication and possible death.  
     He urged the public to cultivate the habit of washing their hands with soap under running water after handling any infectious substance.

     He advised traditionalists to desist from handling dead bodies unprotected or keep them at home just to observe traditional rites since people could contract diseases or infections.

     Dr Isaac Owusu Mensah, a representative of the Konrad-Adenuer-Stifung, said the active involvement of chiefs in the dissemination of public health issues was paramount as they were influential in society.

     The traditional leaders, however, said as much as they were aware of their roles in society, their authority had been eroded by logistical constraints and asked the Government and other public-spirited institutions to resource them to perform their mandate effectively.
Source: GNA

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