The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has backed claims by staff of the Sewum Health Centre in the Western North region that chemicals used for illegal mining are causing the birth of defective babies in the area since expectant mothers drink from polluted water.

According to the Health Centre, pregnant women in the community are continuously losing their newborn babies because the women drink water contaminated with chemicals used by the illegal miners.

A Midwife in charge of the Sewum health Centre Gifty Adwoa Adjanor disclosed that the facility has been recording cases of newborn babies without nose, eyes, ears and mouth.

According to the midwife, the development is a result of the highly polluted river – which serves as a source of drinking water – due to illegal mining activities along with the river bodies.

The claim was challenged by the Western North regional minister who claimed health directors in the distract say the report is misleading.

Speaking to GHOne TV, the Vice President of the GMA, Dr Frank Serebour, said the midwife was correct with the observation and that the association had raised similar concerns in the past.

“We should start questioning what is going on, it is clear for everybody who cares to know that some of these chemicals which are used in this mining are very dangerous products and especially for pregnant women and so what happens is that yes it is true that, some of these chemicals can lead to severe birth effects, in fact, it is to the extent that if you look at women it could have the potential of even affecting the CNS (central nervous system) including your brain, so the brain will not even grow and remember your eye is an extension of the brain, so if something can affect your brain definitely can affect your eye so you can have eye deformities.

“Some of these children can even be born with very small heads their heads can be very small, and then some of them would have issues with hypersalivation. If you look at even the cyanide that is used, the cyanide has the potential of actually binding to haemoglobin and when it binds to haemoglobin it is so tight that it does not allow cinotovite, all these organs and tissues antilock they need oxygen to be able to develop.

“Blood has to go there to support their development so if you are using chemicals like that, essentially what it means is that these body parts will not get the essential nutrients, they won’t get oxygen to be able to develop to their full potential.

“So it is more likely that these ones can lead to these birth defects, so I don’t think that the nurses are wrong at all. And I think that it is something we should be looking at and I believe that I’ve actually granted an interview on this before and have stated clearly that these mining activities that are going on if we are not careful, we will begin to see cases with several birth defects.

“We will see some of them with brain malformations, and we will see some of them with mental retardation, we are going to have babies with small heads and so it’s even interesting that we have not found people with Cyclops if I say Cyclops it means only one eye develops”.

Source: Ghana/