Health authorities in the North East Region have cautioned residents of Bunbuazio in the East Mamprusi Municipality to stop drinking water from a stream in the community.

This follows an outbreak of typhoid fever that is linked to the unwholesome water source, which residents had blamed for the death of some five persons in the community.

JoyNews’ Eliasu Tanko who first visited the community reported several residents were being treated for intestinal infections.

A team of officials from the East Mamprusi Health Directorate, therefore, embarked on a field inspection Wednesday and confirmed the water at the stream was unsafe and harmful for consumption.

The team included officers from the Community Water and Sanitation Agency and Environmental Department, the National Disaster Management Organization and the Municipal Assembly.

Per their observation, the outbreak could be attributed to open defecation and insanitary lifestyle.

Educating the residents during a community engagement, the Regional Director, Dr Abdulai Abubakari advised the residents to intensify environmental hygiene and improve sanitation facilities in their homes.

“Even while we were in the Chief’s palace, children were dotting around it with faces and because the community is uphill and the stream is below, when they defecate, among other poor environmental practices, the rain washes everything downstream whenever there is a downpour and that is the water they drink,” the Regional Director said. 

He further noted that drinking water from the stream was a deliberate act of the residents, and warned against it.

“When we got there, we saw there were two boreholes just by the stream, and the women will walk past the boreholes to the stream. Their reason is that water from the borehole is not sweet.

“But we stressed in a meeting in the community, we made them understand that the safest water for them is the borehole.”

The residents were also advised to boil the borehole water before consuming it while they wait for the result of a test conducted on the potability of the water by the officials and further directives.

The Regional Director also assured of an engagement with development partners such as, “UNICEF and PLAN Ghana. We’ll have a talk with them and see if they can help with some funds to add a borehole or two” to the ones in the community.”

Meanwhile, the Municipal Environmental Health officer at the meeting said, “plans are far advanced to ensure that the community featured under the rural sanitation model and strategy to ensure that at least every household has a small household toilet for their use.”

According to him, the team will also disinfect the refuse site to bring some sanity in the area, “and that one will go a long way to reduce the bacteria growth that is likely to affect the people in their various houses.”

The Assemblyman of the area, on his part, called on agencies to support in getting them more boreholes.