Spillage of Akosombo and Kpong Dams in Ghana: Perspectives on Public Health Impacts on Affected Populations and Proposed Mitigation Strategies

Christopher Yaw Dumevi *

Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Ghana Medical School, Korle-Bu, Accra, Ghana and Department of Physician Assistantship Studies, School of Medical Sciences, Central University, Miotso, Accra, Ghana.

Christopher Mfum Owusu-Asenso

Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Ghana Medical School, Korle-Bu, Accra, Ghana.

Bright Darko Amoah

Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Ghana Medical School, Korle-Bu, Accra, Ghana.

Joyce Junior Asiamah

Department of Public Health, School of Medical Sciences, Central University, Miotso, Accra, Ghana.

Ezekiel Kofi Vicar

Department of Clinical Microbiology, School of Medicine, University for Development Studies, Tamale, Ghana.

James-Paul Kretchy

Department of Public Health, School of Medical Sciences, Central University, Miotso, Accra, Ghana.

Nicholas Tete Kwaku Dzifa Dayie

Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Ghana Medical School, Korle-Bu, Accra, Ghana.

Patrick Ferdinand Ayeh-Kumi

Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Ghana Medical School, Korle-Bu, Accra, Ghana.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Abstract

Background: The negative impact of floods on humans and the environment cannot be overemphasized. Annually, different parts of Ghana get flooded resulting in the loss of lives and significant damage to property.

Objective: This study assessed the public health impacts of the controlled spillage of the Akosombo and Kpong dams in Ghana on the people living in downstream and upstream communities.

Methods: Government reports, published media reports, NGO publications, and field visits were used to assess the extent of damage, challenges faced by local communities, and mitigation measures initiated. Personal observation by the researcher through transect walk of the affected communities between September 15 and October 30, 2023 was also conducted.

Results and Discussion: The spillage led to the loss of critical infrastructure such as schools, houses, toilet facilities, water supply systems and electricity. Overcrowding in temporary shelters provided for displaced persons served as a conduit for possible transmission of communicable diseases. The suspension of healthcare services in areas inundated by flood waters worsened the plight of residents including the vulnerable members of the society such as pregnant women, children, the aged, persons living with disability and the very poor. The submersion of farmlands, crops and drowning of livestock and poultry had serious implication for food security and the livelihoods of the affected individuals. The current study comprehensively captured the scale of devastation of the floods on people and their livelihoods in 7 out of the 16 regions within 21 administrative districts across Ghana, and proposed workable strategies to mitigate future happenings.

Conclusion: The public health impacts resulting from the controlled spillage of the Akosombo and Kpong Dams on affected individuals was enormous. Possible surge in vector-borne disease transmission such as malaria, dengue, zika, and a probable increase in communicable and non-communicable diseases. Although short term measures were adopted to mitigate the impact of the flood on affected individuals through the provision of clean water, beddings, emergency food relief, long-term resilience strategies including early warning systems, climate sensitive interventions, effective collaboration among key stakeholders and disaster preparedness at the local level will help avert or reduce the severity of future floods. The study underscored the urgent need for comprehensive measures to mitigate the impacts of future disasters and enhance community resilience.

Keywords: Floods, Volta River Authority, Akosombo dam spillage, public health impacts, vector-borne diseases


How to Cite

Dumevi, Christopher Yaw, Christopher Mfum Owusu-Asenso, Bright Darko Amoah, Joyce Junior Asiamah, Ezekiel Kofi Vicar, James-Paul Kretchy, Nicholas Tete Kwaku Dzifa Dayie, and Patrick Ferdinand Ayeh-Kumi. 2024. “Spillage of Akosombo and Kpong Dams in Ghana: Perspectives on Public Health Impacts on Affected Populations and Proposed Mitigation Strategies”. International Journal of TROPICAL DISEASE & Health 45 (7):55-67. https://doi.org/10.9734/ijtdh/2024/v45i71560.

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