Government has confirmed that the disinfection of containers and cargo at the ports and various points of entry and exit will begin in the 3rd week of February 2019.
The Minister for Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu who gave the confirmation, said everything was set for the disinfection to begin, and that the Ministry was grateful and thankful to all the stakeholders for their support, cooperation and inputs during the consultation and engagements, leading to the final roll out of the policy.
Mr. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu said the policy has been reviewed and broadened to cover Market centres and the Various Senior High Schools across the country, as a way of making it more beneficial to the country and its citizens.
The Minister who toured the Tema Port to inspect the tunnels installed by LCB World Wide Ghana, the company contracted by government to undertake the disinfection exercise yesterday, February 1 2019, said the decision to broaden the scope of the policy to cover the market centres and the various Senior High Schools across the country was borne out of the desire to improve general sanitation in the country while cleaning the cities and ensuring that they remain disease and infection-free.
‘’We are trying to push to add on schools and some selected markets to do the disinfection as part of our sanitation efforts to clean the cities and our markets of filth and diseases. We are doing all these things as part of our prevention mechanisms to try to ensure that we don’t get ill so easily, we don’t get afflicted with diseases that can be prevented. So when you disinfect, it’s like you are not allowing infectious diseases to come in. That is one sure way that we can protect our citizenry from getting some diseases that we don’t anticipate to get’’ he said.
According to the Minister, the health of students has been impacted negatively in recent times as a result of the invasion of bed bugs in the various Senior High Schools, explaining that the plan is to rid the schools of the bed bugs and other diseases to enable students study in a clean and healthy environment, devoid of diseases and infections.
Mr. Agyeman Manu described as worrying, recent complaints by the Ghana Education Service that the bed bug invasion of Senior High Schools was becoming pervasive and needed urgent attention to address, adding that the expansion of the policy is aimed at curing that challenge.
He said the market centres will be disinfected to allow traders sell in clean environment with de-contaminated foods and consumables while the shoppers have access to health and infection-free foods.
According to him, the policy will benefit all citizens of the country and ensure that they are protected and insulated from infectious diseases.
He expressed satisfaction at the installation of the tunnels by LCB Worldwide Ghana, saying all other outstanding issues that culminated in the delay of the policy implementation have been addressed, including the cost, parliamentary approval and stakeholder consultations.
The Minister also expressed happiness that the policy was about commencing, explaining that even though it has been long in coming, Ghana has now joined league of nations that are complying with this aspect of the World Health Organisation (WHO) International Health Regulations (2005).
The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Anthony Nsiah Asare on his part opined that ‘’it is International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005 and it is for our own good. We are doing disease surveillance and disease control and so we have to control anything coming into the country and as you know, now the world is a small village and so anything that is happening in other ports could come here within a matter days or hours. So that is the reason why port health is here to make sure that anything which is entering our ports, we make sure we don’t import diseases because they don’t need visa to come into the country. I am happy that Ghana is joining the international world. This is one of the first countries in sub Saharan Africa to do this and that is a plus for everybody. It is going to help everybody in this country’’.
The Chief Executive Officer of LCB World Wide Ghana, Kareem Abu who conducted the Minister and his team round the newly installed disinfection tunnels in the Port of Tema said the tunnels are currently the latest on the market and are comparable to those in New Zealand, Japan and beyond.
According to him the 7 state-of-the-art tunnels have been installed in and out at all exit points to service all cars, vans and trucks that come in and out.
Stakeholders including the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and the Food and Beverage Association expressed satisfaction at the level of engagement made on the implementation and were in agreement of the approved charges.
The Minister for Health was joined in the tour by the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, officials of the Port Health Unit, representatives of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Officials from the Association of Customs House Agents Ghana (ACHAG), representatives of the Importers and Exporters Association, the Food and Beverages Association of Ghana (FABAG) and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority among others.