Hygiene can help battle a growing polio epidemic in West Africa.

By June 24, 2004

Ghana (MNN)–West and central Africa is on the brink of the largest polio epidemic in recent years, international polio experts are warning.

Health officials in Ghana fear that, with the rainy season approaching, thousands more could contract the disease, since it is spread by poor hygiene and contaminated water.

Oasis of Love’s Bishop Elvina Miller says this is one reason why they’ve incorporated hygiene into their curriculum. She says the use of a community water barrel illustrates her point. “That water can be in the barrel for weeks” ,she explains, and as people go by, they dip their fingers in it, ‘brush’ their teeth, or perhaps wash their hands. Others go by and get some for drinking or washing, using whatever containers can be found.

Even as the water gets more fouled, people still use it. Miller says, “You see this, and you know you have to do something about it. So, we teach hygiene along with many other things that we teach.”

Miller says their physical and spiritual training at the Oasis International Training Centre in Ghana helps change lives. Vocational training, on top of evangelistic training are enhanced by the basics of caring for oneself. That is taught now. She says the results are evident. “We are witnessing a great change already in how they are bettering their home lives. They learn it at our school, and they put it to work in their homes with our help.”

Leave a Reply