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Smoke Kills 17,000 Ghanaians Yearly – Minister

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The Minister for Local Government And Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama says seventeen thousand people die annually in Ghana as a result of fumes from traditional cookstoves and open fires in the country.

According to her, over two thousand children are killed annually due to upper respiratory infections caused by solid fuels.

The number is out of an estimated four billion persons exposed to smoke in developing countries including Ghana, causing nearly four million premature deaths yearly.

Hajia Mahama who made the disclosure during a media showcase of the Integrated School Kitchen Improvement Project (I-SKIP) in Accra said Ghana since 2002 has engaged actively and chalked many successes in its quest to build a local and sustainable clean cooking market.

The Local Government Minister stated that the project has given a boost to caterers of the National School Feeding Programme indicating that with the support of stakeholders, clean cooking has been introduced into Ghana’s Basic School Curriculum.

“Many school kitchens are makeshift structures and their equipment left at the mercy of the weather. This led to a good number of caterers cooking outside the schools. The implications are that there are delays in meal delivery, a greater chance of food safety to be compromised and exposure of kitchen staff and students to daily health and environmental hazards.”

She said piloting I-SKIP in ten schools across the country has helped to establish best practices for adoption, integration and scale up of technology in school kitchens while promoting clean cooking technology as a living laboratory where students, teachers and all other staff can observe and learn about the benefits of clean cooking technology and energy efficiency.

Chief Executive of the Ghana Alliance for Clean Cookstoves And Fuels, Muhammed Aminu Lukumanu, said statistics have shown that over 6.6 million Ghanaian households cook at least twice a day with over 72% still depending on wood fuel while 25% use LPG.

He said it is envisage that 50% of households would use LPG driven by the Cylinder Recirculation Model and deployment of two million improved cookstoves by 2030.

Mr. Lukumanu further added: “we are happy with the government’s big announcement on the deployment of 500,000 improved cookstoves to poor households in Ghana in a bilateral agreement with partners in Korea and subsequent budgetary allocation for another GH¢65,000 in the 2019 budget statement approved by Parliament.”

Later, Hajia Mahama commissioned a GH¢4,000 worth of school kitchen for the Sakyi Agyakwa Cluster of schools in the Nsawam Adoagyirii Municipality in the Eastern Region.

The Municipal Chief Executive of the Municiplaity Isaac Kwadwo Boabeng said I-SKIP has given the school feeding programme a facelift in the community.

He commended the government for increasing the beneficiary schools of the school feeding programme from five to 43.

The Coordinator of the school feeding programme in the Municipality, Vida Asafo Adjei urged the minister to assist the caterers under the programme to secure their private stoves to enhance the smooth running of the programme.

I-SKIP aims at transforming kitchens from traditional to cleaner ones with the promotion of clean coking technology within school kitchens.

Schools hocked on to the I-SKIP are Jisonayili Islamic KG and Primary, Kanvil Presby KG, Lower and Upper Primary Schools, Kanvillei RC KG all in Sagnerilugu.

Others are Wamale Islamic KG and Primary in Tamale; Saedyiya E/A and Jawani D/A Primary School in East Mmaprusi.

 

Story by Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson

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