Health workers deliberate on climate change for better results

Health workers across West Africa have begun deliberations on how to leverage climate change to improve health care delivery outcomes in the sub-region.

The 22nd two-day Plenary Session of the West African Network of Health Sector Unions, which kicked off yesterday in Accra, is themed: “The Correlation between Climate Change and Health: The Role of the Health Workers Union”. health “.

Partnerships

Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman-Manu commended the network for leveraging partnerships and collaborations to help alleviate challenges in the sector for the collective good of people in the sub-region.

“Increasingly, frequent extreme weather events, such as heat waves, wildfires, storms and floods, are disrupting food and water systems, leading to disease and even death,” he said. he declares.

Mr. Agyeman-Manu said that while West Africa was not directly contributing to climate change, it had a responsibility to advocate for a reduction in fossil fuels and activities that contributed to the phenomenon.

“As a government we are indeed disturbed by what is happening in our dearly beloved country and how the actions of those involved in surface mining and galamsey activities are contributing to the destruction of our bodies of water and our beautiful forests that provide us with our sustenance. of life.

“Water is life and there is no doubt that if things continue as they are, many communities across the country could be forever deprived of clean drinking water. We are ready to face the threat, but we can only progress when everyone is committed to protecting our homeland,” he added.

The Minister further expressed hope that the meeting would help build the participants’ capacity to address issues of forest and water degradation, as ultimately it is the health professionals who would be responsible for the management and care of people who would be affected by such activities.

carelessness

The President of the Ghana Medical Association, Dr Frank Serebour, said, “The reckless manner in which illegal mining activities are being carried out and destroying our water bodies and forest reserves cannot be overemphasized.

“The health consequences resulting from the use of chemicals such as mercury and cyanide will affect generations to come. The country must be afraid of these illegal mining activities and not of the threat of nuclear weapons, because these activities could wipe out generations before the nuclear weapons fall,” he said.

Dr Serebour added that if care was not taken there would soon be no water to drink and people would be battling all forms of cancer and birth defects due to continued use of chemicals in the activities of galamseyers, resulting in the pollution of water bodies.

Pollution of water bodies

The network’s president, Perpetual Ofori-Ampofo, said that the dumping of chemicals into water bodies, which are the sources of drinking water for the population, caused kidney and skin diseases, cancers and malformations in babies born to mothers exposed to these chemicals. .

He said that as health workers caring for victims, nothing should stop them from speaking out and influencing policy on galamsey and health care in general.

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