The UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF is supporting the Ghana Health Service to sensitize the public to the dangers of ‘lead poisoning’ and its prevention in some selected Municipalities in the Ashanti Region.
The campaign sought to draw attention to the harmful effects of ‘lead’ to the human body with the ultimate goal of reducing its exposure to humans.
As part of strategies to reach-out to residents in the beneficiary Municipalities, the Regional Health Directorate has held a training in Kumasi for Health Promotion Officers, Community Health Nurses and Environmental Health Officers and Journalists.
Lead poisoning is a type of metal poisoning caused by Lead build-up in the body, usually over months or years. Exposure to lead is very dangerous to the development of the brain because it could disrupt its development, lead to anaemia and affect the entire growth of a child.
Research has shown that about 1 in 3 children globally has ‘blood Lead’ levels. This is because more children are becoming exposed to Lead poisoning due to the burning of waste, use of Lead products, paints containing Lead components and canned foods.
A survey which provided an analysis of childhood Lead exposure in 5 countries, including Ghana, showed that lead components in usable water were above the normal.
It also showed that Lead was found in the breast milk of some breastfeeding mothers in Ghana. The danger of Lead poisoning to especially children has led to the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF partnering the Ghana Health Service to create awareness in some selected Municipalities in the Ashanti Region.
The campaign is being implemented in the Kumasi Metro, Afigya Kwabre South, Suame, Asokore Mampong, Old Tafo and Asokwa Municipalities which have been identified as areas where activities involving the use of Lead in the Region are rampant.
The aim of the training in Kumasi was to equip participants with information on the effects of Lead and the need for people to limit their exposure. Deputy Ashanti Regional Director of Health in charge of Public Health, Dr. Michael Rockson Adjei explained further what causes Lead poisoning.
According to experts, a build-up of lead in the body, usually over months or years is lead poisoning.
Lead-based paint and its dust, usually found in older buildings, are common sources of exposure. Young children are especially at risk. Occupational exposure, such as welding, is a more common cause for adults.
Symptoms include developmental delays, abdominal pain, neurological changes and irritability. At very high levels, it can be fatal, doctors say.
Treatment always involves avoiding further exposure to lead or lead-based products and may include medication to help remove lead from the body.
Dr. Adjei said the awareness creation is taking place in particularly, areas where artisans operate and urged parents to keenly monitor their children to protect them from consuming poisonous substances.