The Environmental Officer in charge of Kassena-Nankana Municipal, Pious Akambe, has advised members of the public who rely on firewood and charcoal for cooking to constantly undergo medical examination to ascertain their health status.

He urged particularly caterers of the senior high schools and the Ghana School Feeding Programme, food vendors, pito brewers and shea butter processors who depend on firewood and charcoal as a source of energy to regularly go for medical check-ups.

Mr Akambe gave the advice at the dissemination of a baseline survey on Clean Cooking held in Navrongo in the Upper East Region.

He said a routine medical screening exercise often conducted by his outfit, in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service, revealed that majority of the school caterers, food vendors, pito brewers and shea butter processors who relied on fuelwood as a source of energy had contracted respiratory diseases.

The forum was organised by the Assembly in partnership with the Organisation for Indigenous Initiatives and Sustainability (ORGIIS-Ghana) with funding support from SNV, a Netherland Development Organization.    

It attracted stakeholders including caterers from senior high schools, food vendors, traditional rulers, women groups, heads of departments and assembly members.

Mr Andani Iddrisu, the Municipal Planning Officer, who presented the survey findings, said all the respondents in the eight communities and eight institutions selected in the Municipality indicated that the traditional methods of cooking posed health hazards including sight and skin problems, burns, coughing and loss of hair.

The survey showed that traditional cooking methods such as the three-stone fire and the traditional charcoal stoves were still common though the use of cleaner and efficient cookstoves had been promoted for many years.

“Majority of households and institutions use firewood as their main source of energy for cooking whilst straws, charcoal and Liquefied Petroleum Gas are used as secondary sources of cooking energy, causing environmental degradation,” Mr Iddrisu said.

All respondents in the baseline survey, who requested for an improvement in their cooking situation and cooking environment, indicated that at the institutional level, firewood was expensive.

Mr Iddrisu said the survey formed part of the Assembly’s preparation towards developing a Clean Cooking Strategy for the Municipality to accelerate universal access to safe, sustainable and affordable clean cooking technologies.

Among the recommendations were affordability, efficiency, durability, and accessibility of clean cooking technologies, and the need for incentives for the private sector to engage in the production, distribution and sale of clean cooking technologies.

Mr Julius Awaregya, the Executive Director of ORGIIS-Ghana, lauded the Assembly for its efforts at ensuring that clean energy was mainstreamed into its Medium Term Development Plans.

He encouraged the leadership to fast-track the process to make the Assembly a learning centre for the rest of the assemblies in the Region.