Africa-Press – Ghana. The former Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, has tasked the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa to introduce a master’s in public health Programme with an emphasis on Environmental Health.
The purpose of the programme, he said, was to tackle the numerous challenges existing in mining communities across the country. Prof. Akosa gave the advice when the UMaT and University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) celebrated this year’s World Health Day with students from Junior and Senior High Schools, tertiary institutions, and organizations in Tarkwa.
“Dust inhalation is a major problem within mining communities because mining involves the blasting of soil and rocks. The heavy trucks that drive through the poor roads in these areas create lots of dust and most people who leave their breath dust in their system end up getting silicosis, tightening of lungs and other diseases.
He currently said the quantity of food produced had diminished because there was the loss of agricultural land, soil, and water pollution. Prof Akosa added that “Chemicals such as dynamite, cadmium, copper, zinc, lead, and mercury were used in mining. I am told Ghana discharged about five tonnes of mercury into our water bodies and the impact of this was on the kidney and nervous system.”
“Those who engage in illegal mining work for hours, get a lot of money and use drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, and tramadol. These expensive drugs are used by young people who also patronize the services of commercial sex workers end up contracting Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s) HIV/AIDS” he emphasized.
Prof. Anthony Simons, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of UMaT, who chaired the function, expressed gratitude to Prof Akosa and assured him that management of the university would consider the advice he gave, adding, “Am of the view that perhaps we need to adopt the Tarkwa Midwifery Training School and then be part of our system, but we need to discuss it more.”
He said, “At UMaT we have a career and innovation fair which we hold every year. We must strengthen the participation of students in that.” Prof. Solomon Nunoo, President of UTAG, said the World Health Organization (WHO) had observed the World Health Day for decades, adding that “if you look at the community like where we find ourselves, our planet is polluted so we live in a polluted environment. Also, we have many chronic diseases among us.