A forensic pathologist and Head of KNUST School of Medicine and Dentistry, Dr. Paul Ossei Sampene is concerned about the recorded cases of newborn babies with deformities in mining communities.
Speaking to GHOne News, the pathologist observed that illegal mining activities which continue to contaminate food crops and river bodies have far-reaching consequences on human health, partly why the country’s health facilities are overwhelmed by strange diseases and defects in births.
He stressed the heavy concentration of metallic substances found in river bodies is worrying.
“We need to appreciate the fact that cumulatively if these patients get even 0.005% of a heavy metal, and assuming the person stays there all his life you can imagine the sort of concentration that you can get in a year or in a month, and that is what we should consider. When you live there permanently, that is your place of abode and consume whatever is produced there, you drink the water there and eat the food there, cumulatively it can affect your life. And we need to take action. If care is not taken in the near future we need to import food.”
Irresponsible small-scale mining activities across mining communities in Ghana continue to have adverse impacts on lands and water resources and threaten human survival in mining areas.
Newborn babies with deformities, and kidney failure, among others, are on the rise as a result of the intake of polluted water and consumption of food crops in mining areas, the pathologist observed.
“Per my particular examinations of people that have passed on at certain areas seem to be telling me that there is a lot of heavy metal pollution in our food chain which has found its way into the body of the human.
“The gastrointestinal tract which we call GIT per our medical term is one of the things that is affected when you consume these heavy metals.
“I did one work by using placenta and looking at it I think is alarming. Even though I haven’t been able to do more of these things nationwide, but I think that if we allow it to continue, we will be in a position where in the near future we’ll get a lot of babies with deformities.
“Some of them fortunately the deformities are not compatible with life and so some of them just die immediately after birth. But if you’re not careful and you survive it, you might have somebody with an internal organ deformity.”