The theme for EFFA 2013 also focused the attention of the 3rd State of the Environment Forum on the relationship between the health of Ghanaians and their environment. In Ghana, it is estimated that 45% of outpatient visits to hospitals and health facilities are for malaria and diarrhoeal diseases such as cholera, skin diseases, and eye infections, which are the consequence of living in a degraded environment.
The estimated annual cost of reported cases for malaria alone is US$772.4 million (in 2008), which is several times greater than the budget of the Ministry of Health. This year, the forum presented a unique opportunity to discuss the often neglected but significant relationship between the environment and health, both key components of sustainable development.
This year’s EFFA is significant because the project started a new partnership with the Institute of Environmental and Sanitation Studies (IESS) of the University of Ghana, Legon headed by Professor Chris Gordon.
The collaboration will extend into the areas such as sharing of technical information and research, production of communication outputs as well as utilising EFFA's public platforms to popularise critical academic findings. The Institute played a key role in the State of the environment Forum.
The participants were drawn from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Forestry Commission, NGOs and CSOs from all the regions, corporates, as well as development agencies such as, European Union, ILO, UNICEF, World Food Programme, Hanns Seidel Foundation, Konrad, Adenauer Foundation, African Women's Development Fund, DANIDA, USAID, Forestry Commission, Ghana Water Company, Community Water & Sanitation Agency, Waste Management Department - Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Water Health International, Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana, Energy Solutions Foundation, Eco Alert International, Coastal Resources Centre / Hen Mpoano, Institute of Environmental and Sanitation Studies (IESS) – University of Ghana, UN University, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Ghana Association of Private Voluntary Associations in Development (GAPVOD), Ghana Meteorological Agency, BUSTER, and the British Council, Accra among many others.
The Forum focused on four key thematic areas: 1. Climate Change, Degraded Environment & Flooding 2. Ghana’s Oil Industry & Fisheries 3. Water & Sanitation 4. Mining & Forestry