Foodstuff sellers in the various markets in the country have been advised against displaying their wares on bare ground to prevent the contamination of food stuffs.
It is a common spectacle to see fruits and vegetables displayed on bare ground or on torn jute sacks and mats spread on dusty floors in most markets Ghanaian markets.
Mr Harold Esseku, Vice President, Ghana Institution of Engineering (GhIE), said Ghana’s markets needed reengineering to ensure food safety and general hygiene.
Mr Esseku said one of the major problems of existing markets was the display of goods on bare ground, a situation he stressed could lead to the contamination of food stuffs as people spit, trample and blow dust on the wares.
Speaking at a presentation of hand washing sets, liquid soaps, cane baskets and nose masks to market women at Tema Community One, by the Women In Engineering (WinE) Ghana, he called for change especially, in this era of COVID-19 where the observation of the highest standard of hygiene protocols must be adopted.
He added that Ghana could not afford having food items and markets contaminated as everyone irrespective of status got their food from the market.
Dr Enyonam Kpekpena, President of Women In Engineering, said her outfit had been brainstorming on how the country’s markets could be improved as part of efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Dr Mrs Kpepkena indicated that “we realize that the current situation within the markets needed to be drastically improved. Our studies in Accra showed that the markets are poorly planned, maintained and unclean”.
She said a proactive action at implementing the right, acceptable, hygienic and sustainable measures towards making markets in Ghana safe, clean and well-organized would go a long way to impact the health and longevity of Ghanaians.
She disclosed that WinE Ghana had established a technical advisory group to offer professional and technical advice as well as skills to help re-engineer the various markets saying “the food that ends up on our tables are from the markets and the earlier interventions are put in place, the better it will be for our collective health, ” adding that the markets were viable receptacles for bacteria and virus.
The WinE president said a proposal to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, called for some 11 pragmatic short term measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the communities.
The measures include maintaining at least one metre each between and around traders, and between buyers and traders, at least three metres of walkways free of hawking in-between traders as well as using task force to ensure traders and patrons observe the various regulations.
Other measures were;food transporters must deliver well packaged foodstuffs in sacks, baskets or wooden carts to the markets with defaulters receiving some penalties.
Alhaji Shehu Abdul Kadiri, Tema Metropolitan Coordinating Director, receiving the items on behalf of the traders, thanked the WinE, saying the items would go a long way to help the Metropolis in implementing the various COVID-19 protocols in the market.
Alhaji Kadiri said to be able to observe social distancing at the markets, the Tema Metropolitan Assemblies relocated some traders to temporal markets created on school parks adding that nose masks were also distributed by the Assembly to residents, traders and drivers to comply with the mandatory wearing of masks as part of measures to curb the COVID-19 spread.