Fix Our Sick Markets And Abattoirs
Environmental sanitation remains an obstinate problem in Ghana with serious public health consequences despite measures taken by leaders and various stakeholders in the country to fix the problem.
The widespread of poor sanitation turns out to be of greater concern when associated with sensitive places like our markets and abattoirs where our foods and meats emanate for consumption. With food and meat in a stricter sense being of a greater health concern, an alarm is always triggered, demanding imperative responsiveness especially when the places where they are sold are overfilled with filth.
The overwhelming sanitation problems in the markets and abattoirs include; improper waste disposal, inadequate water supply, gross inadequacy of sanitary facilities that result in open defecation and urination, choked gutters with wastewater and refuse producing offensive odour, overcrowding, exposure of food and meat to flies, rodents, and contaminants in the environment.
These problems are accredited to the improper planning of markets and abattoirs; the springing up of illegal markets and abattoirs (including slaughter slabs); lack of accessibility to potable water; inadequate road networks, institutional regulations, poor enforcement of laws and monitoring; and above all, corrupt and sharp practises by the supervisors of markets and abattoirs.
Generally, markets occupy an important position in the lives of Ghanaians. We all consume some amount of food within the day and the activities involved in buying and selling generate huge quantities of solid waste containing a large proportion of putrid vegetables and animal matter.
It is quite common to observe mountains of refuse at a Ghanaian marketplace, especially in Accra; Kaneshie, and Agbobloshie among others. The heaps of refuse provide excellent breeding grounds for vectors of communicable diseases including rodents, and insects to mention a few. This proliferates the potential for the spread of infectious diseases through food.
It should be well noted that many of the diseases that affect Ghanaians, including malaria, tuberculosis, and diarrhea to mention a few are consequences of unhealthy environmental conditions.
In addition, markets and abattoirs are habitually built without proper layouts, and where such layouts exist, they have been distorted.
Abattoirs share comparable sanitary glitches with markets. Lack of sanitary facilities such as adequate water supply, toilet facilities, refuse disposal bays, proper waste management system, incinerators, proper drainage systems, and compartments for proper cleaning of carcasses after slaughter, all increase the chance of contamination of meats meant for human consumption.
Cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid, polio, and hepatitis A among others are all diseases that thrive in unhygienic sanitary conditions. Our markets and abattoirs nevertheless, provide an appropriate habitation for such disease conditions.
It is subsequently not astounding that these diseases are among the top ten diseases causing fatality among Ghanaians in the country.
It is time Ghanaians rise to say NO to the sale of foods and meats from unhygienic places. Make your health your priority for your health is in your own hands. I hereby call on the government, MMDAs, and all other stakeholders to help cause a greater transformation in our market settings.
Let us all rise and cause for change among our sick markets and abattoirs.
Sanitation, is a shared responsibility!!!!
Peprah Elijah Kwasi
Environmental Health Practitioner