Sunday, March 28, 2010


DOMESTIC and commercial water consumers in the Northern Region owe the Aqua Vitens Rand/Ghana Water Company Limited (AVRL/GWCL) GH¢1.697 million as of February, this year.
The water company also loses more than 50 per cent of its water provided to consumers through illegal connections in the area.
Additionally, the proliferation of water sachet producers and car washing bays, particularly in the Tamale Metropolis, some of which allegedly engage in illegal water connection, is said to be a major problem bedevilling the water sector in the region.
The Regional Customer Care Manager of AVRL/GWCL, Mr Kwabena Tabiri, made this known during an interaction with media practitioners in Tamale as part of activities marking this year’s World Water Day celebration.
The event was on the theme: “Clean water for a healthy world.”
According to Mr Tabiri, while the Food and Drugs Board in the metropolis claimed there were about 70 water sachet water producers in the region, the company had on its record only 40 of such producers.
He stressed that his outfit would ensure that those operating illegally and using water without paying their bills were brought to book.
Mr Tabiri said about 34 per cent of customers had meters while 66 per cent of them did not, adding that the company had acquired about 4,000 meters to be supplied to customers who had no meters.
The manager expressed concern about the way some politicians had been interfering with the work of the AVRL staff anytime they wanted to arrest recalcitrant customers.
“Until we change our attitude, there is little that we can do as a company to improve upon the situation in the Northern Region,” he pointed out.
The Regional Production Manager of the AVRL/GWCL, Mr Joseph Azumah, stated that in 1999, the water facilities at Dalun were expanded to produce 4.5 million gallons of water daily.
He added that in 2008 the water facilities were expanded again to provide 10 million gallons of water daily.
Mr Azumah announced that by 2015, demand for water would increase from about 39,749 cubic meters to 49,392 cubic meters daily.
He said there was the need to expand the current facilities by about 37,500 cubic meters to meet the increasing demand.
Mr Azumah mentioned frequent power interruptions, low voltage and high voltage, and power failures as some of the major challenges facing the water company in its quest to provide adequate and sustainable water supply.
He said such operational problems like old and obsolete equipment, failure of equipment, tampering with valves and invasion of facilities had bedevilled the water delivery system over the years.
The Regional Distribution Manager of AVRL/GWCL, Mr Wisdom Bortier said high water demand during dry season, weak pipelines and construction of structures on pipelines causing leakage, were the other challenges facing the company.
The AVRL General Manager of Area, Mr Samuel Mensah observed that this year’s celebration was aimed at raising the profile of water quality by encouraging governments, organisations, communities and individuals around the world to find solution to water quality issues.
The Assistant Communications Officer of AVRL, Nii Abbey Nicholas expressed optimism that a series of educational campaigns would be carried out in the future to help change public attitude towards the prompt payment of bills and the avoidance of illegal connections.


An amount of $700,000 has been mobilised by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in collaboration with the National Tuberculosis Control Programme (NTCP) to conduct a comprehensive research into the extent of TB infection in the country.
The effort is to enable the country to plan effectively towards TB control and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals on TB.
The last time the Ministry of Health (MoH), in partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO), conducted a similar study on the disease in the country, was in 1957.
The National TB Control Programme Manager, Dr Frank Bonsu, who made this known in Tamale at the national launch of the World TB Day celebration, explained that an additional $1.5 million was needed urgently to conduct the exercise.
He said the WHO had already spent over $100,000 to provide technical assistance to kick-start the exercise and appealed to the MoH to help raise the additional funds needed for the research project.
Dr Bonsu stressed that “Ghana must not fail to raise this amount in the interest of the poor TB patients and the larger society; the GHS research institutions and the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research have the capacity to undertake this important national assignment”.
Giving an overview of the disease in the country, Dr Bonsu indicated that last year, a total of 15,301 people were confirmed to have been infected with TB.
He said the figure represented five-per cent increase over last year’s figure of 14,536, while a total of 642 children were also diagnosed of the disease last year.
“The higher percentage rise of TB cases for children means two things; that our healthcare providers are now vigilant and that our surveillance system was working effectively making more cases to be diagnosed,” he further explained.
The manager announced that four regions did exceptionally well with regard to treatment of the diseases.
They are the Northern, Volta, Ashanti and Central regions. “Greater Accra, Western and Brong Ahafo regions were also astounding with excellent performance with TB treatment success exceeding 85 per cent,” he added.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Vice-President, Mr John Dramani Mahama, called on stakeholders including civil society groups to collaborate to reduce the prevalence rate of the disease.
“It is, however, encouraging to note that progress has been made in the fight against TB but we need to do things differently to accelerate efforts towards achieving the MDG’s targets for TB in 2015,” he said.
The Director-General of the GHS, Dr Elias Sory, called on the public not to shy away from going for regular medical check-ups to detect TB.
The Deputy Minister of Health, Mr Rojo Mettle-Nunoo, said over 30 per cent of all avoidable deaths occurred in Third World countries, adding that the disease affected mostly those between the ages of 15 and 59.
He announced that there were 1,059 TB treatment centres and 274 diagnostic centres throughout the country, saying case detection was one of the major challenges to reducing the prevalence rate of the disease.
The Northern Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Akwasi Twumasi, expressed regret that the region was expected to detect 4,541 TB cases last year but only 549 cases were detected representing a case detection rate of only 12 per cent.