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04 July 2017

Schools warned against poorly lit classrooms that can cause poor vision epidemic

Deputy Director of Public Health in the Greater Accra Region, Dr John Eleeza, has warned that the continuous construction of poorly lighted classrooms would result in the mass of students suffering from poor vision in the future.

He said in an effort to minimise cost, some classroom blocks in the Region were now being constructed with a few holes in the blocks instead of windows thus making the rooms dim.

Dr Eleeza noted that though the beneficiaries of these classrooms would adjust to viewing in the poor condition, their vision would eventually be impaired.

He was inaugurating a 12-member Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee for Health Promotion to help identify the social and environmental causes of diseases in the Greater Accra Region towards promoting the right behaviour and actions for good health.

Dr Eleeza said diseases arising from lifestyle and social conditions were becoming increasingly predominant hence the need to tackle the conditions from their roots with a multi-sectoral approach.

He said the excessive consumption of alcohol and dangerous chemicals in the name of bitters was worrying as many consumers were getting liver and kidney diseases.

It was, therefore, incumbent, he said, that traditional and religious leaders, civil society organisations, the media and other stakeholders, partnered to work against unhealthy lifestyles and behaviours at the community level.

The Committee would, subsequently, be an advisory and coordinating body for all health promotion work in the Region; provide a strategic interface for health improvement with the relevant government agencies, recognising health as having wider determinants.

It would also among other interventions, collaborate with all Municipal and District Assemblies and other partners to help the Ghana Health Service achieve its health promotion and behaviour change objectives in the Region.

Mr Edward Adimazoya, the Deputy Chief of Party of  the USAID Communicate for Health, said because the connections between social conditions and health outcomes had become increasingly recognised, there was the need for the development of initiatives to shift from resources mainly invested in medical care to those in health promotion and the prevention of illness.

He said increasing investment in health promotion and prevention required less hierarchical structures but more networking, more collaborative relationships among institutions and more collaboration between organisations, teams and individuals

He pointed out that despite the impressive global health gains over the few decades in areas like improvement in maternal and child health, the challenges facing population health today were enormous.

Mr Adimazoya noted that the unfinished agenda of communicable disease control was greatly being complicated by the emergence of new pandemics, notably HIV/AIDS and non-communicable (NCD) diseases as well as global health threats such as environmental changes, climate change and terrorism.

The prevention and control of many of these challenges, he said, required a population-wide and intersectoral approach and paradigm shift from a purely medical to a social model of health.

He explained: “The paradigm shift include two components, which are a change from a system focused on illness and medical care to one that was focused on health promotion and illness prevention.

“Another component is a change from approach that sees the challenge of health maintenance and promotion as fundamentally one of individual education and behaviour change to one that sees the challenge as fundamentally one that needs to be addressed at the community level.”

Mr Adimazoya explained that the USAID’s Communicate for Health had three expected results: “Improved Behaviour Change: Strengthening Departments responsible for Health Promotion department capacity for effectively coordinating and delivering SBCC and Health Promotion Campaigns.”

Mr Adimazoya said the Project would continue to offer its widow’s mite to ensure a healthy population and a happy people who live long.

The Committee, which would initially meet every month, has representatives from the  Regional Coordination Council, which is the chair Ghana News Agency, the Ghana Journalists Association, the Regional Health Directorate, the Regional Public Health Division, the Regional Health Promotion and some key NGOs.

Others are from the Regional Information Services Department, the Regional Directorate of Ghana Education Service, the Regional Office of Environmental Health and Sanitation Department, Community Development, Community Water and Sanitation Agency and Traditional and faith-based organisations.

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