It is premature to discuss cost of Ebola measures – Okudzeto
It is too early to start counting the cost of measures instituted by the Education Ministry at tertiary institutions to prevent an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus there, a deputy minister has said.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa who is in-charge of Tertiary Education, said the primary concern now should be the efficacy of the measures and the objectives they are intended to achieve.
He was speaking to Joy News Tuesday evening on steps being taken by the Ministry to prevent the outbreak of Ebola in Ghana through foreign students.
While speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show earlier in the day, Mr. Ablakwa indicated that President John Mahama had also endorsed the 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.
Mr. Ablakwa hinted that measures were underway to thoroughly screen foreign students from Ebola stricken countries like Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The Education Ministry has also directed heads of all tertiary institutions across the country to delay re-opening the 2014/2015 academic year by two weeks as the Inter-ministerial taskforce make arrangements for the necessary screening mechanisms and health readiness process ahead of re-opening.
Private tertiary institutions are also to comply with the directive.
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 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.”
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