Posted: Tuesday 12th August 2014 at 18:06 pm

Foreign students from Ebola stricken countries to be thoroughly screened in Ghana


Deputy Minister In-charge of Tertiary Education, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has hinted that measures are underway to thoroughly screen foreign students from Ebola stricken countries like Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Ghana is enjoying an Ebola free environment at the moment and according to Mr. Ablakwa, “we don’t want our sector to be the sector that introduces this into our country.”

Re-opening of all the tertiary institutions in the country, he noted would be postponed as the Inter-ministerial taskforce make arrangements for the necessary screening mechanisms and health readiness process ahead of re-opening.

Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Tuesday, Mr. Ablakwa indicated that President John Mahama had also endorsed a meeting with heads of the country’s Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education and other tertiary institutions to strategize in that regard.

He said the Inter-ministerial Committee on Health, in collaboration with the various Health Directorates has been mandated to come up with mechanisms aimed at immediately reporting any suspected symptoms of the dreaded Ebola disease in the institutions.

To him, “because it is early days yet and we are yet to have all of these meetings with the Vice Chancellors, the Rectors and the Principals and the Health Directors to be able to agree on a common response mechanism, that is why we cannot spell out details at this stage.”

School authorities at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) have announced an indefinite suspension of re-opening date for the 2014/2015 academic year as it gears up to contain any possible case of Ebola.

The decision, according to the authorities, is also partly because of the industrial action called by the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG).

“It is announced for the information of the University Community and the General Public that the date for the re-opening of the University for the 2014/2015 Academic Year has been suspended indefinitely,” a statement issued by the office of the Registrar said.

“The suspension is to enable the University to prepare adequately for re-opening in view of the University Teachers’ Association of Ghana (UTAG) Industrial Action and the Ebola Scare in the West Africa Region.”

The statement further urged students “to hold themselves in readiness for the new dates which may come at short notice.”

UTAG, last month, called the strike over government’s delay in paying book and research allowances to its members.

Last week, the University of Cape Coast also suspended re-opening due to the lecturers’ strike.

The University of Ghana, however, says its planned re-opening date remains unchanged even though UTAG is on strike.

Head of Public Affairs at UCC, Daniel Turkson told Joy News “due to the UTAG strike, teaching and learning cannot be done on campus when there is a strike.”

On Monday, 11 August, reports were that the World Health Organization (WHO) convened a panel of medical ethics experts to begin looking at the use of experimental treatments in the ongoing EVD outbreak in West Africa.

At this time, there are no registered medicines or vaccines against this deadly virus; several experimental options are currently under development, though.

The recent treatment of two health workers from US faith-based aid organizations has raised questions about whether medicines that have never been tested or shown to be safe in humans should be used in outbreak situations.

In the case of Ebola, supplies are extremely limited, which then raises questions about who should receive it, if it is used.

Disease update from WHO
New cases and deaths attributable to EVD continue to be reported by the Ministries of Health in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.

Between 7 and 9 August 2014, 69 new cases (laboratory-confirmed, probable, and suspect cases) of EVD and 52 deaths were reported from the four countries as follows: Guinea, 11 new cases and 6 deaths; Liberia, 45 new cases and 29 deaths; Nigeria, 0 new cases and 0 deaths; and Sierra Leone, 13 new cases and 17 deaths.

Confirmed, probable, and suspect cases and deaths from Ebola virus disease in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, as of 9 August 2014.

  New (1) Confirmed Probable Suspect Totals
Guinea          
Cases 11 362 133 11 506
Deaths 6 238 133 2 373
Liberia          
Cases 45 158 306 135 599
Deaths 29 146 125 52 323
Nigeria          
Cases 0 0 10 3 13
Deaths 0 0 2 0 2
Sierra Leone          
Cases 13 656 37 37 730
Deaths 17 276 34 5 315
Totals          
Cases 69 1176 486 186 1848
Deaths 52 660 294 59 1013
1. New cases were reported between 7 and 9 August 2014.

 
The total number of cases is subject to change due to ongoing reclassification, retrospective investigation, and availability of laboratory results. Data reported in the Disease Outbreak News are based on official information reported by Ministries of Health.

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