Ebola Strikes At Nsawam, Bawku

These bring to four the number of suspected cases in Ghana over the weekend, following the death of a Burkinabe man at the Bawku Presby Hospital in the Upper East Region, shortly after showing Ebola-like symptoms, DAILY GUIDE has gathered.

The unnamed Burkinabe victim, who was said to have been rushed to the Bawku Presbyterian Hospital, died on arrival.

The suspected Nsawam Ebola patients (names withheld) include a 56-year-old storekeeper of the Ghana Education Service who hails from Adawso, a town a few kilometers from Akropong Akwapim.

The other suspected victims are a 53-year-old driver who plies the Accra-Kumasi route and a 16-year-old girl who went to the Nsawam hospital with symptoms of fever and bleeding from queer orifices of the body.

Last stage symptoms of Ebola include fever and bleeding from the eyes, nose, mouth and private parts.

Information gathered by DAILY GUIDE indicated that blood samples from the patients had been taken for medical testing at the Noguchi Memorial Research Institute at the University of Ghana.

Kofi Konlan, Administrator of the Nsawam Government Hospital, confirmed the incident to DAILY GUIDE, adding that the suspected patients were in a different room receiving treatment.

According to him, the hospital lacks logistics and equipment to handle such suspected cases.

In the Bawku case, according to citifmonline.com, the Medical Director at the Bawku hospital, Dr. Joseph Yaw Manu, who confirmed the death, said the patient was bleeding from his nostrils which raised their suspicion that he might have died of the Ebola disease.

The Ebola hemorrhagic viral rapidly assuming epidemic proportion across West Africa, has killed over 850 persons in several countries, including Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared an international health emergency due to the rapid spread of the disease in the West African sub-region.

The nurse who was the first to have handled the now deceased Burkinabe patient has expressed fears that he was at risk of contracting the highly transmittable disease.

‘We’re scared. We just pray that it shouldn’t be Ebola’, Muhammed Sakiru told Accra-based StarrFMonline.com in an interview on Sunday.

He said though he wore hand gloves while testing the patient’s pulse, he still harboured fears.

‘… I got alarmed and asked everybody to get back upon learning that he had been brought all the way from Burkina Faso without any referral papers’, Sakiru said.

A few months ago, a case strongly suspected to be Ebola was reported at both the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi and the Nyaho Clinic in Accra.

Both patients died a few days after exhibiting Ebola-like symptoms, but the Ghana Health Services and the Ministry of Health were quick to debunk the suspicions, saying laboratory tests showed that the victims did not have Ebola.

Interestingly, the two government institutions have failed to explicitly state exactly why the two victims showed curiously similar symptoms of Ebola and died a few days after the deterioration of their sickness.

Ebola is known to kill up to 90 per cent of its victims within 21 days of contracting the disease that is transmitted through human-to-human bodily contact.

Critics have blamed the government for trying to cover up a possible Ebola outbreak in Ghana as a face-saving measure.

Several health facilities across the country—both public and private—have decried their ill-preparedness to tackle the disease if it indeed hits the country.

Over the weekend, the Christian Council of Ghana called on the Ministry of Health and other key stakeholders to ‘deliberately’ intensify public education and develop strong health systems across the country to fight against the deadly Ebola.

‘As a Council, we consider Ebola as a disease and not a punishment from God as some people are reportedly describing it. Therefore, to be able to fight against the epidemic successfully, the Council is of the view that the myth about the disease must be demystified among the generality of Ghanaians,’ the umbrella body of the Christian community in Ghana stated in a statement signed by its General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong.

By Raphael Ofori-Adeniran & Daniel Bampoe (Nsawam)


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