Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sanitation workers undergo medical screening

By Edmund Smith-Asante, ACCRA
Dental examination at the screening

Sanitation workers in and around James Town, Chorkor and Kaneshie, all in Accra, last Saturday went through medical screening for the early detection and prevention of diseases that are associated with their work.

Organised by the Zoomlion Foundation, in collaboration with the Tobinco Foundation and the Pentecost Students and Associates [PENSA] medical outreach team at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, the medical screening was a pilot project which would be replicated all across the country and involve all sanitation workers.

Numbering about 1,000 and clad in their blue and orange work attire, the Zoomlion workers went through breast examination and screening for hepatitis, diabetes, hypertension, eye, dental and respiratory diseases, among other diseases and also received medication.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic, Mrs Sarah Kyei, the National Co-ordinator of the Zoomlion Foundation, said “apart from the social atrocities that sanitation workers in this country face, they are exposed to certain health problems by virtue of their occupation.

These health hazards include exposure to harmful gases such as methane and hydrogen sulfide, cardiovascular degeneration, infections such as hepatitis, skin problems, respiratory system problems and many more.”

She noted that the medical screening, which was conducted as part of their corporate social responsibility, would, therefore, help in early detection and prevention of the effects of the exposures and go a long way to improve the lives of sanitation workers in the country.

Mrs Kyei said the medical screening was in line with Zoomlion’s healthcare support agenda and was also to provide the health needs of the project staff of the company who were not covered by permanent conditions of service.

Mrs Millicent Akoto, the Executive Director of the Tobinco Foundation, said drugs, worth GH¢10,000 from the Tobinco Pharmaceutical Company, had been donated towards the exercise “with the hope that we can put smiles on the faces of the target community workers” and that “the health wellbeing of participants will be met so they can effectively contribute their quota to national development.”

She said since the foundation, which was established in January, had the expertise in medical screening, it had offered to partner the Zoomlion Foundation, which had similar objectives, in the programme.

The leader of the PENSA medical outreach team, Mr Collins Owusu, a student of the University of Ghana School of Medicine and Dentistry, told the Daily Graphic that his group, numbering 55, were motivated as Christians to voluntarily join in the screening “to do as much as we can to help the health and the wellbeing of our people.”

Madam Evelyn Larbi, one of the Zoomlion workers at Teshie who benefited from the medical screening, said it was the first time in her nine years as a worker that she was benefitting from such medical attention and commended the organisers for the programme.

She appealed, however, that “we want it to be organised at least monthly or every two or three months for us because the work we do is difficult and we are always exposed to the sun and dust. Moreover, many of the workers are advanced in age and they should be able to take care of us so that we can also put in our best to help the country.”

Mr Agyei Vadis, another sanitation worker with Zoomlion, told the paper that the screening exercise had shown him that the leadership of the Zoomlion/Jospong Group of Companies had regard for the workers. He noted that their work was difficult and brought them many diseases, hence the decision to take them through the exercise which was good in the sight of God.

“I thank the leadership for thinking about us in this way and I pray God to give them the strength to continue to do this for us so that we can also do our work in good health,” Mr Vadis said.

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This was first published by the Daily Graphic on August 26, 2015

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