The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) as part of measures to combat the increase in rodent population in the markets, have conducted a deratting exercise to ensure a safer and healthier environment.
The exercise which was conducted at the 31st December Makola market, Agbogbloshie market and Makola No 2 market using the systemic and gradual killing method sought to among other things mitigate the health risks associated with rat infestations.
The Head of Public Affairs at the AMA, Gilbert Nii Ankrah who disclosed this said the method was used to address the polygamous nature of the rodents, which often travel significant distances from where they pick up the bait to their nesting sites.
"The systemic deratting approach involves the strategic placement of bait laced with a controlled, slow-acting poison. This method aims to address the polygamous nature of the rodents, which often travel significant distances from where they pick up the bait to their nesting sites. By employing a gradual poison, the officers hope to disrupt the rodent population at various points in their journeys, " he said.
"Rodents, being highly adaptable creatures, often carry bait to their nests located far from where they originally encounter it. This makes it challenging to control their population effectively, hence the use of the systemic and gradual killing, " Gilbert Nii Ankrah said.
He mentioned that some possible potential health hazards posed by the increasing presence of rodents in marketplaces included food contamination, leptospirosis, hantavirus, and allergies.
"Rodents also gnaw on structures, wiring, and packaging materials, potentially causing damage to buildings and creating fire hazards if they chew on electrical wiring, " he added.
He said before the operation Public Health Officers conducted a comprehensive assessment of each market to identify rat-infested areas, entry points, and potential breeding grounds adding that despite awareness campaigns, achieving universal compliance with hygiene practices among vendors proved challenging.
He said one unique challenge faced by the HOs was the rodents' tendency to carry the poison to various locations, potentially spreading it within the city stressing that with the gradual nature of the poisoning method, the rodent population in and around the targeted market areas would decline over time.
He pointed out that the Assembly as part of measures to address factors that may cause the increase in rodent population in the market had established a routine de-ratting schedule to prevent infestation and was redeveloping the markets to eliminate entry points for rats.
He added that the Assembly was through its identification and regular workshops educating traders on proper waste disposal and hygiene practices emphasising that the success of the initiative does not only hinge on the efficacy of the gradual poisoning method but on the collaborative efforts of the community.
Residents and business owners who spoke to the media after the exercise expressed support for the deratting initiative, citing the importance of maintaining a hygienic and pest-free environment.