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Ghana To Fight Swine Flu   
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As part of Ghana's preparedness to address an outbreak of AH1N1 popularly known as swine influenza, a communication strategic plan has been developed to ensure effective and efficient co-ordination between stakeholders in the event of the epidemic. The plan, which would also promote key behaviours that will reduce the risk of transmission, generate increased awareness, build pandemic influenza and build knowledge, would also improve on the existing communication component of the National Action Plan for Human Pandemic Influenza.

Speaking at a stakeholders' workshop on the pandemic flu communication strategy, in Accra, Dr George Amofa, a Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) said the pandemic was a looming catastrophe, which should not be ignored. He said the pandemic, which had claimed about 1,000 lives worldwide would need human and material resources to fight it. The communication plan, which was in a draft form, was jointly prepared by the GHS, UNICEF, WHO, National Disaster Management Organisation, Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, which formed the national communications sub-committee. The plan's thematic areas are communication, surveillance, prevention and containment, planning and co-ordination and human response.

Dr Amofa noted that Nogouchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research has been strengthened whilst teams from the regional and teaching hospitals and some selected medical facilities have been trained for case management. Dr Lawson Ahadzie, Head of Disease Surveillance Department of the GHS, said vaccine trials were underway in affected countries to find out the efficacy and side effects of the medical product for general use. He noted that communication is the backbone to mitigate the pandemic and called for an effective tool that would be used by all stakeholders. The disease presents itself like a common cold with cough, sore throat, fever, catarrh, general weakness, body ache and headache and sometimes vomiting or diarrhoea and may lead to severe pneumonia with difficulty in breathing, rapid breathing and chest pain.
Source: GNA

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