So far, a total of 120 suspected cases of the ebola virus, have been recorded in Ghana since the outbreak earlier this year.
However, testing at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) at the University of Ghana, have all proven to be negative, that is according to the Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Victor Bampoe.
Dr Bampoe, made this known at a roundtable discussion on Ghana’s preparedness with respect to the ebola virus, which has claimed many lives, especially in the West Africa Sub-Region.
The maiden edition of the programme dubbed, “The Platform”, paraded experts including world bodies such as, World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF), health officers, traditional heads, civil society groups, students, academia etc.
The well patronized programme themed, “Spot Stop Cure Ebola” , is an initiative of TV3 Network Company and was held at the Plush La-Palm Royal Beach Hotel last Thursday in Accra.
Speaking extensively on how ready Ghana is with respect to facility, medicine and training on ebola, Dr. Bampoe assured Ghanaians that though the disease has not been recorded, unlike its neighbours, such as Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone; authorities have put in place adequate measures to arrest the situation should it enter Ghana.
According to the Deputy Minister who doubles as Incident Commander for the Emergency Operation Centre for Ebola, Ghana’s response to arrest the disease are in three folds: educating the public on the prevention and curtailment of the disease, tightening of it security entering points and the provision of three centres, located at Tema, Kumasi and Tamale.
He said, while the centre at Tema is completed, constructions of the remaining two are in progress.
These measures, he said, coupled with the alertness of the NMIMR give the strongest indication that, the country is prepared should the to battle the disease should it shows its head in this country.
The Deputy Minister said, although it would be difficult to get a perfect system, he assured that, Ghana has made enough in rolls as was not arrest the disease which was not the case in countries affected.
He said, various incentives and compensation packages, have been arranged for health workers who would avail themselves to provide treatment for affected persons. He disclosed that some 40 Ghanaian health workers have agreed to work with the West Africa Medical Association to volunteer to work in affected areas He illustrated the procedures under which a possible case of ebola will be handled in Ghana.
The President of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Dr. Kwabna Opoku Adusei, paid tribute to all health officials, who met their untimely death, while volunteering to care for affected persons in countries such as Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Outlining the Association’s role in fighting ebola, Dr. Adusei, said his outfit has assisted government in training personnel who are all members of the Association.
A programme has also been drawn targeting 2000 health workers as the Association has developed information for that are sent to the public through the various telecommunication companies while a separate Fund has been set aside to cater for the disease.
Again he said, a programme has also been designed by the Association to government on how health workers should be catered for while giving healthcare to affected persons.
He decried the absence in the daily on tips concerning the disease. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Augustus Dickson, TV3 Network Limited, said the decision to organize the programme forms part of the company’s corporate social responsibility adding, “It is no longer a regional problem, but a global emergency”.
He was hopeful that the programme will bring to the fore all the nagging questions while the experts make the effort to answer them. The WHO country representative, Dr. Magda Rabalo aside stating their coordination with Ghana, commended government particularly, President John Mahama, for showing leadership as chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) by visiting affected countries to provide food for them, accepting to make Ghana, the Coordinating Centre and also, agreeing to host various meetings in Accra on the disease in finding a lasting solution it.
Chairman for the programme was the Chief of Essikado, Nana Kobina Nketsia V. An Economist and Principal Lecturer at GIMPA discussed the implication of ebola on the Sub-Region.