The Ghana Health Service (GHS) in the Sissala East Municipality has appealed for the immediate supply of essential supplies including food and medics for undocumented Burkinabe migrants settling in the Sissala enclave.
The health regulatory body said it received several complaints of health complications after screening 180 persons on Tuesday at Banu community where surveillance was being mounted to check any transfer of cross-border diseases.
The Sissala East Municipal Director of GHS, Mr Alex Bapula, told the Ghana News Agency that a team of health professionals had been dispatched to Banu and Pido communities where many of the undocumented refugees were residing to carry out surveillance and screening.
“I put together a multi-purpose integrated team to meet the people and interact with the migrants to find out what health conditions they might have come with,” he said.
“We went there with medics, diseases control officers, mental health officials, midwives as some of them could be coming in with different ailment ranging from water-related diseases as it is important for us to check them to prevent cross border infections”.
“Indeed the team who screened 180 people today (Tuesday), including 79 children many of whom are malnourished, will require immediate food supplies”.
Mr Bapula said his outfit was compiling a report to the regional health directorate to make a case for immediate provision for tents, water, mosquito nets, and medical supplies.
He said most of the women were also found to be pregnant and would require antenatal support.
“My team told me water is another issue whilst ringworm appears to on the increase among the children,” he said.
He urged the security agencies, particularly the Ghana Immigration Service, to expedite action on the registration and profiling of the migrants to enable them (health workers) determine the exact needs of the refugees.
According to health officials, the screened migrants had no health insurance and could not also produce, for instance, polio vaccination cards of their children, implying their children might not have been vaccinated against the polio disease.
Lack of shelter and hundreds relying on one community borehole without food supply and toiletries from aid organisations posed serious health challenges to the migrants who were being housed in temporary shelters made of thatches and in few cases mud.