Fellow countrymen and women, brother and sisters
In the wake and resurgence of the deadly Ebola viral infection in Africa some few months ago after it was first recorded in the year* 1976 in Zaire, Congo, it is estimated that about *eight hundred and ninety seven people have lost their lives to the deadly viral attack.
The ripple effect of its transmission across countries on the continent pass it to be categorized a deleterious *endemic. It has, no doubt, attracted a lot of attention from health organizations including the World Health Organization and has seen swift actions taken all over countries within the confines of possible transmission. Regional blocs including the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union have equally been proactive to reduce the rate of infections if not totally combat it. One category of leading institutions in the aggressive fight and run for finding a soothing panacea to the *endemic is the Health Ministries of the various countries on the continent.
*The Health Ministries in Guinea and Sierra Leone have played active roles in containing the situation in their respective countries, in collaboration with other international bodies. The swift disposition exhibited by these Ministries of Health is among other things the source of provocation for this press release. Most notable is the level of preparedness and alert displayed by the *Federal Ministry of Health of the Republic of Nigeria in the previous week when a suspected case of infection in the country got the Health Ministry to notify the citizenry of possible emergency resorts even before a scientific medical examination was carried on the suspected victim.
The education accompanying the call for close health monitoring across all States in Nigeria is indeed what proactive Ministries of Health do. Intensive screening at the Airports in Nigeria is only indicative of their level of alertness. Unfortunately, this is not the case in Ghana.
It is against all these reflections among other things that we find the modestly false hope that the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Ghana seems to be giving to the public on a possible influx of the Ebola viral disease into Ghana to be very inappropriate, to say the least.
Outbreak of diseases in neighboring countries so close to us such as Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and others, should trigger a sense of awe in us and invoke alertness in all of us. Diseases especially the Ebola virus disease in context which has no cure or treatment yet and has an incubation period of less than 22 days should get any proactive-minded Ministry of Health on Disease Education and Awareness Campaign spree. As it stands, many people in Ghana are unaware of what the Ebola virus is, the mode of infection or let alone, the horrifying statistics that nine out of every ten persons infected die on the average.
The education needed has been consciously swept into oblivion and the Ministry rather seems to find joy in holding hurried press conferences to dismiss claims of possible infections in Ghana. Whilst the stance taking by the MoH in dismissing claims remain comforting to us a people, it is however scientifically suicidal. Issues of this magnanimity especially one that deals with our health and survival as a people should neither be played along the lines of national comfort, cheap hope and cheer-leading nor ‘gentle diplomatic-talks’ as done by the Ministry of Health.
Society of Generational Thinkers Ghana, respectfully demand from the Ministry of Health to embark on massive public education and seminars on the treatment and prevention of the deadly Ebola virus. The ministry should designate and resource every district hospital to be able to combat and respond swiftly to any emergency case of the deadly Ebola virus. Ministry of Health should kindly embark on visual and graphic imagery awareness to stimulate the minds of the public about the symptoms, prevention and the dangers of contracting the disease. Ministry of Health should setup an emergency national call centre for quick report of any trace of the Ebola virus by the public. Finally we urge the Ministry of Health to put in tighter measures at our various entry points, lets adopt a proactive and thorough screening at these entry points.
As a youth, social, policy and health advocacy society, we intend to, in the spirit of duty and commitment to the flag of Ghana, remind the Ghanaian public of some few facts.
1. The Ebola (Zaire strain) infection has no known cure (in man) even though attempts to develop a vaccine are in progress.
2. Symptoms of bleeding from nose, mouth, rectum, eyes and ears should get any Ghanaian jostling for a medical test.
3. Sustained chest pain and coughing, fever and throat pains should get everyone running for a medical check-up.
4. Severe headache, joint and muscle aches and diarrhea (may be bloody) are some of the early symptoms.
In the meantime, good personal hygiene should be promoted and kept by all Ghanaians. Chemical (blood and body fluids) and physical contacts especially with fruit bats, antelopes and even human beings should be closely monitored by every Ghanaian. The most simply prevention method during Ebola outbreaks is not touching patients, their excretions, and body fluids, or possibly contaminated materials and utensils.
We wish to tell every Ghanaian to be alert.
‘’First Ebola (Zaire strain) infection influx into the country may not ring in our ears or reverberate like the famous Church Bell. We may just never know.’’
Raymond E.Y Nuworkpor (Executive Director, 0543887669).
Saviour A. Asante (Communication Director, 0240465442).
Facebook Page: Society of Generational Thinkers Ghana