HealthHealth & Lifestyle

Government urged to enforce strict regulations to protect mothers and babies from lead poisoning in Ghana

The environmental NGO, Pure Earth, Blacksmith Initiative, has charged the Government of Ghana, industry, and community leaders to rigorously enforce regulations on lead exposure to safeguard the health of mothers and their unborn babies from the dangers of lead poisoning.

In a statement released ahead of International Women’s Day, the NGO highlighted the pervasive prevalence of lead exposure in Ghana, originating from sources such as informal battery recycling, lead-based paints, and contaminated soil.

Lead poisoning poses a significant threat to maternal and fetal health, leading to severe consequences including miscarriages, premature births, and developmental issues in newborns. “Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable as lead can penetrate the placental barrier, impacting fetal development during critical stages,” the statement emphasized.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that no level of lead exposure is safe, underscoring the urgent need for intervention. Pure Earth asserts its commitment to combatting the threat of lead poisoning as the world observes International Women’s Day. Under the theme “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress,” Pure Earth Ghana is rallying government, industry, and community leaders to take immediate action to protect mothers and their unborn children from lead exposure.

Speaking on the Pulse on the JoyNews Channel ahead the commemorations, Country Director for Pure Earth, Esmond Wisdom Quansah, stressed the importance of equipping women with knowledge and resources to mitigate the risks associated with lead exposure. “Our mission is to empower women with the tools they need to shield themselves and their offspring from the hidden threat of lead,” he said.

Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is developing an action plan to mitigate lead exposure and poisoning among the population as part of efforts to protect the environment.

It follows a study by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and Pure Earth which revealed that metal cookware, particularly locally fabricated aluminium cookware, popularly known as “dadesen”, contained lead which could leach into food during cooking. The study was conducted across the three ecological zones of the country to compare blood lead levels (BLL) in children aged one to four.

The NGO’s initiatives for International Women’s Day include targeted awareness campaigns in maternity wards, advocacy for policy reforms, public awareness drives on social media using the hashtag #LeadFreeGhana, and community collaborations with Ghana Health Service, Environmental Protection Agency, and community leaders.

Communication Officer of Pure Earth, Nana Agyei Sikapa Ofosu-Manu, emphasized the necessity of collective action in establishing a safer, lead-free environment for mothers and children. “Together, we can forge a future where mothers and children are liberated from the shackles of lead poisoning,” he said ahead of the celebrations on March 8, 2024.

This year’s International Women’s Day, themed ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress,’ aims to address economic disempowerment, while the campaign theme is ‘Inspire Inclusion.’

Source: MyjoyOnline.com

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