Ghana - Health

Waterborne parasitic diseases are a widespread health hazard and the creation of Lake Volta and related irrigation systems has led to an increase in malaria, sleeping sickness, and schistosomiasis. The upper reaches of the Volta basin are seriously afflicted with onchocerciasis, a filarial worm disease transmitted by biting flies. Lymphatic filians in some remote villages of Ghana affect between 9.2 to 25.4% of the population. Control of filariasis in remote areas has been difficult. In 1997, efforts were made to vaccinate children up to one year old against tuberculosis, 72%; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 60%; polio, 61%; and measles, 59%. As of 1999, total health care expenditure was estimated at4.7% of GDP. In 2000, 64% of the population had access to safe drinking water and 63% had adequate sanitation.

As of 1999, there were an estimated 0.1 physicians and 1.5 hospital beds per 1,000 people. Between 1985 and 1995, 60% of the population had access to health care services.

In 2002, Ghana's estimated birth rate was 28 per 1,000 people. About 22% of Ghana's married women (ages 15 to 49) used contraception as of 2000. The total fertility rate in 2000 was 4.2 children for each woman's childbearing years. An estimated 8% of all births in 1999 were low birth weight. In 2000, the infant mortality rate was 58 per 1,000 live births, and the overall death rate in 2002 was estimated at 10.3 per 1,000 people.

Twenty-six percent of all children under five were malnourished in 2000. Goiter was present in 33% of school-age children. At the end of 2001, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at 360,000 (including 3% of the adult population) and deaths from AIDS that year were estimated at 28,000. HIV prevalence in 1999 was 3.6 per 100 adults. Two other common diseases have been tuberculosis (281 cases per 100,000 in 1999) and measles (38,821 cases in 1994). Cholera cases in 1995 numbered 4,698.

Thirty percent of all women in Ghana have undergone female genital mutation. Currently, Ghana's government has prohibited this under specific laws.

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