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Loud Sounds emanating from heavy machine guns are reportedly causing serious ear defects to most of the country’s military personnel, which has resulted in various levels of hearing impairments. The defects, which are said to be prevalent among personnel, are blamed on the unavailability of efficient ear protectors that should have under normal circumstances been at the disposal of the soldiers.

These startling revelations were among concerns raised by personnel of the 66 Artillery Regiment in Ho, during questioning time, when Brig. Gen. Joseph Mensah Ayettey, the Director-General at the Medical Services of the Ghana Armed Forces, inspected some newly procured medical equipment and an ongoing renovation project at the clinic of the regiment. The soldiers regretted that although the Ghana Armed Forces provides them with some form of ear protectors; they are compelled to discard them because whenever they put them on, especially during training sections, their ears are completely blocked to the other sounds, there by making them unable to hear other commands.

They took the opportunity granted them to send a strong appeal to the government to rush to their aid by providing them with efficient ear protectors. Issues concerning inadequate accommodation, the lack of qualified doctors at the clinic, inadequate staff and discrepancies in their salaries, were also mentioned strongly at the meeting. Brig. Gen. Ayettey, who claim to be a victim of the same unfortunate situation, shared in the concerns of the personnel and attributed the situation to the lack of funds to enable government procure more efficient ear protectors, that would exclusively restrict sounds emanating from the arms.

He however, assured them of various measures to find alternative solutions towards addressing the problem, which would ensure a healthy Army that would be battle-ready for the defence the nation at all times. He announced that plans were far advanced to extend the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to cover military personnel across the country, following attempts by government to reverse the Legislative Instrument (LI) that previously excluded security agencies from the scheme, adding, that the scheme will not only allow the personnel free medical service in any party of the country, but also qualify them to be rendered free services by private health facilities.

Brig. Gen Ayettey confirmed that as part of measures to improve health delivery at the clinic, he had met with authorities of both the Volta Regional and the Ho Municipal Hospitals, to find ways of strengthening existing relationship between them and the regiment, stressing that agreement had also been reached to enable the two health institutions supply the regiment’s clinic with community health nurses.

He noted that with about 80 percent completion of the project, the challenge now rested on the staff to help derive the full benefit through efficient service delivery. “The maternity block which has not yet been renovated will soon be completed,” he assured.
Dr. Jane Ansah, Director of Public Health at the Medical Services of the Ghana Arm Forces, urged the personnel to observe basic hygienic practices, especially in the face of increasing spread of swine flu around the world. Other members of the team, which visited the regiment were Col. Sally Odoi Gyampo, Director of Nursing; Col Aban, Lt. Col. Adu-Ameyaw, Director of Logistics at the Medical Services of the Ghana Arm Forces.

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