Many communities in the Ketu South Municipality, affected by flooding in recent days, are now facing another danger as sanitation and health situations continue to worsen daily.
The continuous heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding have resulted in numerous health challenges for the residents.
With the increase in stagnant water and poor sanitation conditions, diseases such as Typhoid, Malaria, Skin infections, and Worm infestations have become more prevalent.
The lack of access to clean water and proper sanitation facilities has further exacerbated the situation which many fear could result in the outbreak of deadly Cholera.
A visit by this reporter to Aluwoe Kpotame, an island community in Aflao, saw many residents trying to cope with the devastating after effects of the floods.
“I had to walk through a refuse dump used by the residents to construct their only access
road leading to the community.
The stench emanating from the dump makes it difficult for one to breathe coupled with the stagnant water, making the whole community a breeding ground for mosquitoes and rendering the community unhealthy to live in.”
Ernestina, a resident of the community who spoke to this reporter said, residents of the community cannot stay outside in the evenings because of the incessant mosquito bites.
“My children and I have started suffering from some strange skin infections – I suspect it could be the result of the mosquito bites or some other strange disease,” Ernestina added.
The situation is not different at Hatsukope, Avoeme, Viepe, Aletame, Agbawoeme, Denu and Agbozume, all major towns in the Municipality.
Schoolchildren were seen meandering their way barefooted through the stagnant water to be able to get to school.
A female Junior High School (JHS) student who plies the flooded stretch to school on a daily basis with her other mates, appealed to benevolent organizations and well-meaning individuals to support them with Wellington boots, Mosquito nets and Spray.
“We don’t have any choice but to walk in the water barefooted, because our shoes and sandals’ would spoil if we walk in the water with them.
We only have to clean our feet after crossing before wearing the shoes back to school,” she lamented.
Additionally, the flooding has led to the displacement of many families, forcing them to seek shelter in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions.
This has heightened the risk of respiratory infections and the spread of other communicable diseases is eminent if nothing is done urgently to forestall the trend.
The Municipal Health Director, David Agbokpe had advised that the affected residents seek urgent medical attention from nearby health facilities to curb the spread of diseases and infections, but many of the victims who were interviewed said, they were unable to seek healthcare at the facilities due to financial constraints, since their businesses had also been affected by the floods.
Community leaders and residents are calling for urgent assistance from the Government, Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders – They are urging immediate action to address the health crisis, including the provision of clean water, sanitation facilities, and medical supplies.
The flooding situation in Ketu South serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for improved infrastructure and disaster preparedness measures – It highlights the vulnerability of these communities and the importance of proactive measures to mitigate the impact of flooding on public health.
In this situation, the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3, targets 3.3, 3.4, and 3.9 may not be achieved any time soon, as long as Ketu South is concerned.
The target 3.3 aims to end by 2030, the epidemics of AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria, and Neglected Tropical Diseases and combat Hepatitis, Water-borne diseases, and other communicable diseases.
3.4 by 2030, reduce by one-third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being.
3.9 by 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water, and soil pollution and contamination.
As the situation continues to unfold, all stakeholders must come together and work towards finding sustainable solutions to alleviate the health crisis in the flooded
communities, not only in Ketu South, but other affected communities in the country.
By Sylvia Esi Awuye