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120 Suspected Ebola Cases Recorded   
 
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23-Dec-2014  
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As part of efforts to prevent Ebola from being introduced into Ghana, the Chief of Staff of the Republic of Ghana, Prosper Bani, has asked church leaders in the country to support government’s efforts by using the pulpit to educate their members on how to prevent Ebola from the country.

He mentioned that about 120 suspected Ebola cases had been recorded across the country but all turned negative after medical investigations.

Mr Bani made these remarks at a special meeting with the clergy organised in Accra by the Inter Ministerial Committee on Ebola.

According to him, the church plays a significant role in shaping the mindset of the citizenry.

“You are the ones the people trust, and that is why it’s very important to partner with you to drum home the message,” he added.

Mr Bani also disclosed that government would involve the clergy in developing specific messages based on hope and faith that would manage the psychosocial expectations associated with Ebola to target Christian.

The Chief of Staff noted that the disease has stigmatised the three most affected countries to the extent that some airlines have had to suspend their flights to these countries, thereby making it very difficult to travel to those countries.

“It is sad to mention that due to Ebola, some of our beautiful cultural activities like shaking hands and embracing each other during church services and other gatherings may have to be to be curtailed, and stricter personal hygiene practices like washing of hands and using hand sanitisers made more common to prevent and reduce the spread of Ebola, were it ever to come to Ghana.”

He remarked that government is aware that it is normal practice during the period leading up to Christmas for churches and other religious organisations to hold international meetings and other activities.

“In as much as government is not against the holding of such meetings, the safety and security of all Ghanaians should be taken into consideration,” he advised.

Mr Bani appealed to the leadership of the various religious organisations and the general public to abide by government’s directive of restricting the holding of international meetings which has been extended to December 31, 2014.

Concerns

On their part, the leaders of the various churches expressed great satisfaction to the presidency for their involvement in the fight against Ebola.

They recognised the leadership role Ghana has played in the sub-region as the logistical base of the United Nations Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) and the central role taken by ECOWAS and the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) to coordinate the sub-region’s support to the three affected countries by sending health workers to support the fight against Ebola.

They, however, expressed dissatisfaction at not being involved in the initial planning process and hoped that from now, they would be provided the opportunity to be part of efforts to prevent Ebola from coming to Ghana.

They reassured government that they would continue to promote preventive health measures such as no hand shaking, provision of hand sanitisers at vantage points, and revised communion practices to help fight EVD.

The clergy advised that legislation is passed through local government and the chieftaincy institution to ensure that dead bodies are handled safely and buried early enough to minimise exposure to potential infectious disease like Ebola.

Ebola viral disease has been declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in the sub-region that continues to claim many lives.

As at December 13, 2014, 18,476 people have been infected, and 6,841 people have died.
 
 
Source: Daily Guide
 
 

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