Guinea Worm Hits Upper West Akyem

The lives of the people of Sobrum Bethlehem, a farming community in the Upper West Akyem District of the Eastern region, are under serious threat as a result of guinea worm detection and infection in the area, Today has gathered.

This, according to some infected residents who spoke to Today on condition of anonymity, was due to the lack of potable water in the area, which situation was compelling residents to drink water from unsafe dams and streams.

"The pipe-borne water in our area does not flow and we have no option than to rely on the water from the dams and streams which have been polluted by the activities of miners," they complained.

The infected residents disclosed that they realised they had contracted the disease after they had gone to hospital and were confirmed that they had been infected.

They revealed that they have since been under medical treatment.

"But we still use the same water source for drinking and bathing," the infected guinea worm residents told Today.

Pupils of Sobrum Methodist Primary School in the community were also not left out in the complaint as they told Today that the school authorities also used the same source of water to prepare food for them.

"We are also infected with guinea worm," the school children lamented and called on the government to provide the community with potable water to help mitigate the spread of the guinea worm infection and its related diseases in the area.

When Today got to the dam and the stream which serve as source of drinking water for the residents, our team observed that both waters were dirty, brownish and full of impurities with animals including goats and sheep drinking from the waters.

Today further observed that residents of the community were seen holding their yellow containers at the dam and the stream to fetch water.

In an interview with this paper, the chief and the elders of the Sobrum Bethlehem community expressed worry over the increasing rate of guinea worm infection in the area.

That situation, they noted, had been compounded by the fact that there was no potable water in the community.

They revealed that strenuous efforts by the residents to get the District Chief Executive and the member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Mr. Samuel Amakwanor, to provide the community with potable water had proved futile.

That situation, the chief and elders intimated, has affected economic activities in the area as well as the education of the children.

Today found out that pupils infected with the guinea worm disease had been asked to stay home so as not to infect others with it.

Apart from these challenges the residents in the area go through, they decried the deteriorating nature of the Sobrum Methodist Primary, poor road networks and lack of basic social amenities.

They pointed out that there was also no clinic in the area where people could access healthcare when they are taken ill.