The University of Alberta in Canada is partnering with the Tolon District Health Directorate to promote sanitation in the Tolon District in the Northern Region.
Professor Michael Frishkopf of the Department of Music in the University of Alberta (Canada) is using music and dance drama to effect behavioral change on bad sanitary practices in the Tolon District.
The project is facilitated by the Tamale Youth Home Cultural Group in collaboration with NORST and DFATD (Canada).
The project was officially launched at the forecourt of Tolon Naa’s palace on the theme, “Assessing the efficacy of traditional music and dance for health education and promotion in Northern Ghana.”
Professor Michael Frishkopf told Citi News on the sidelines that his team’s major priority was to assist the Tolon District Health Directorate to prevent the outbreak of cholera and malaria in the area.
He reiterated his team’s commitment to simultaneously promote traditional music and dance as best means of effectively communicating public health to the targeted audience.
He maintained that behavioral change could be the cost effective way of preventing cholera and malaria.
According to him, he produced a video on sanitation which was beneficial to the people of Liberia, hence his decision to replicate it in the Tolon District.
Professor Michael Frishkopf promised to sustain the project at all cost in collaboration with the Tamale Youth Home Cultural Group and other partners.
“Ultimately we hope since we are a team Canadians and Ghanaians it will be sustainable: we are just trying to kick start it and then hope it will continue to roll on by itself.”
On preserving the traditional legacy of the north, Professor Michael Frishkopf cautioned the youth against diluting their rich culture with western culture.
Nonetheless, he supported the idea of blending contemporary music, with indigenous dance and drama to promote health education in rural communities.
Coordinator of the project and a member of the Tamale Youth Home Cultural Group, Abu Sulemana said the group had a positive relationship with the University of Alberta in the area of training Canadian students on local music, dance and drama.
He said the idea came from Professor Michael Frishkopf who developed interest in using traditional music and dance to promote good hygienic practices in the Tolon District.
He disclosed that the Youth Home Cultural Group had already developed interest in using its expertise to achieve behavioral change in the area of sanitation.
The Regent of Tolon, Major Retired Abubakari Sulemana who enskined Professor Michael Frishkopf as “Maligu-Naa” literally, development chief commended the team for adopting his traditional area.
He tasked his subjects to desist from open defecation and thoroughly wash their hands with soap after visiting the public place of convenience.
Major Retired Abubakari Sulemana wooed other development partners to empower his subjects to improve their living conditions.
The Tolon District Health Director, Hajia Hawabu hailed Professor Michael Frishkopf and his team for adopting the Tolon District to improve sanitation.
She begged for disinfectants, consumables, cleansing materials, anti snake serum, shovels and pans, means of transport and hospital beds.
Hajia Hawabu impressed upon residents of Tolon to report any foreigner suspected to be carrying the Ebola to the nearest health post.
She was glad that the Tolon district never recorded cholera for the year 2013.
The Tamale Youth Home Cultural Group sensitized the gathering on hygiene through live performance interspersed with traditional and contemporary music.
By: Abdul Karim Naatogmah/citifmonline.com/Ghana