Surveillance To Track Visiting Fishermen In Place

A surveillance system to track and monitor fisher folks in fishing communities in the Central Region who ply their trade in Ebola affected countries in West Africa has been instituted by the Ghana Health Service in collaboration with its partners. The move is part of preventive measures put in place to prevent an outbreak of the disease in the country through its coastal borders. The Central Regional Minster, Mr. Aquinas Tawiah Quansah, said Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the coastal areas had been instructed to collaborate with health teams to screen all fishermen who enter the country by sea. The MMDAS are also to monitor the movements of such fishermen after screening. Mr. Quansah made this known in a speech read on his behalf at the opening of a trainer of trainer workshop on Ebola Case Management in Cape Coast. The three-day workshop is being attended by personnel from Ghana Health Service (GHS) and teaching hospitals in the Central and Western regions. Mr. Quansah said there had been two separate instances in which a group of people had entered the country, one by boat and the other through Paga in the Upper West Region, with the Central Region as their final destination. He said all of them were rounded up and screened and were being monitored for the mandatory 21 days. He said so far speculations about some cases of Ebola in the Region had proved negative and that the GHS was mounting educational campaigns to keep the people informed Mr. Quansah said the Regional Coordinating Council had also constituted a Regional Ebola Preparedness Steering Committee to spearhead regional integrated efforts. He said there were Regional Rapid Response Teams in place which consist of technical personnel from relevant sectors. Mr Quansah said six hospitals had been strategically positioned to hold themselves in readiness towards an eventuality while the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, Winneba Trauma and Specialist Hospital and Saint Gregory Hospital at Budumburam had been identified as holding centers in the Region. Mr. Quansah called for the strengthening of infection control in hospitals since about 25 percent of infected people worldwide were health workers who obviously got infected during the course of carrying out their professional duties. “Our efforts to contain the potential Ebola epidemic in Ghana is showing preliminary signs of progress, but maintaining and extending these trends will require sustained efforts from us all,” he said. Dr. Samuel Kaba, Director, Institutional Care Department of GHS, said all 10 regions have Ebola response teams and the country had been divided into three zones with zonal training ongoing. He said the Service would be training medical staff from Burkina Faso, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire and other volunteers to assist in combating the outbreak. Dr Kaba said even though a lot had been done so far, there was still a lot more to be done to sensitize those in the remotest and forgotten corners of the country on the devastating nature of the disease. He called on the private sector, civil society, religious and traditional bodies and non-governmental organizations in the country to join the crusade against the disease. Dr. Samuel Quarshie, Director, Central Regional Health Directorate, said the workshop would enhance preparedness to manage the disease as well as equip and update participants with relevant information and skills to improve their capacity for effective service delivery. This he said could be achieved through enhancing the quality of care given to clients and health workers leading to the improvement of safety to these clients and health workers. He urged health sector to use the threat of the disease to close the gap between public health and clinical care, strengthen the country’s surveillance system and improve infection prevent and control practices. Dr. Ernest Opoku, a public Health Physician Specialist who chaired the opening stressed the need to put in place the right measures to curb the disease since it posed a huge threat to Africa.