UG researchers, GIZ representatives, and stakeholders at the sensitisation durbar
The Department of Biological, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (BEOHS) of the University of Ghana’s School of Public Health in collaboration with the Institute of Occupational and Social Medicine, Medical Faculty, and RWTH Aachen University in Germany held a durbar to celebrate the establishment of a healthcare post and training workshop for residents at Old Fadama and Agbogbloshie Market.
The durbar, which was held at the Sikkens Ghana forecourt near the E-Waste site in Agbogbloshie, aimed at discussing concerns of community members, and at creating a meaningful dialogue between residents, researchers from both universities, and stakeholders about the health post, and the upcoming research study on the air quality of the E-waste site.
Professor Fobil explaining the background of the project and research study
In his welcome address, Professor Fobil explained that the upcoming construction of the health post and training centre was the culmination of nearly 10 years of assessment, planning, and collaboration with government agencies and foreign partners, particularly the Ministry of Youth and Sports, GIZ, and the University of Ghana; and that the goal of the project was to provide residents with frontline medical access to manage minor medical conditions and develop the skills of residents.
Dr. Linda Otoo from the Ghana Health Services addresses residents’ concerns
Dr. Linda Otoo from the Ghana Health Services assured residents of Agbogbloshie that the health post would be staffed by qualified personnel. She also assured residents that staff at the health post would be able to address minor concerns, but serious cases would require transfer to hospitals nearby.
Prof. Batterman and members of the research team demonstrate how participants of the study will wear backpacks.
Professor Nil Basu of McGill University, Canada, explained that the ultimate goal of the project is to improve the health and safety of Old Fadama residents, particularly those who work in the scrap and E-waste businesses and are exposed to toxic chemicals. The researchers hope that their study will help improve work practices on the scrap sites. To gather data, subjects were recruited and fitted with personal air-monitoring systems in backpacks. The backpacks are to be worn throughout the day and returned to the research team at the end of each day to log in the data. Professor Stuart Batterman from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor demonstrated how the self-operating backpacks are to be worn.
A concerned community leader questions the researchers about the project
In the lengthy question and answer session that followed, residents and other stakeholders expressed some concerns with the study and the health and training posts and were reassured by the panellists that the project would not adversely affect their livelihoods but rather seek to find safer and more environmentally friendly ways for them to continue processing scrap.