Ebola Scare: GHS advises health professionals not to take chances

Health workers are being cautioned to be careful, but professional in the handling of suspected Ebola patients in order to protect themselves from contracting the dreaded virus.

Head of the Disease Surveillance Department of the Ghana Health Service says as the second line of vulnerability, health professionals should protect themselves before offering care to the public.

Dr. Badu Sarkodie was addressing over 100 members of the Society of Private Medical and Dental Practitioners at Koforidua in the Eastern Region over the weekend.

He warns, under no circumstance should the health worker compromise safety as a first step towards effective prevention and control.

Liberia and Sierra Leone are the worst hit in West Africa. Medical professionals who came into contact with patients to offer treatment and relations of affected people have been killed.

Ghana has so far evaluated 30 suspected cases which have proven negative of Ebola and other viral hemorrhagic fevers such as Lassa and Yellow Fever.

Though Ebola is not transmissible until it shows symptoms within the incubation period, experts warn it could still be dangerous because of its fatality rate.

Dr. Badu Sarkodie says the situation calls for more decorum in both prevention and management.

“We have to as part of our practice, adhere to the universal precautionary measures of infection, prevention and control,” Dr Badu Sarkodie appealed.

According to him, utmost care and professionalism at its highest level must be exhibited by all health workers, especially clinicians because, “anyone can see the first case (Ebola)”.

“People wish to see case written on somebody’s forehead ‘Ebola’ before he wants to put on iron gloves. At that time, it may be late and usually that’s what happens that at the hospital setting, we infect ourselves; later somebody suspects, and people start shivering,”.

Management of incurable Ebola disease can be herculean, especially, in developing countries where access to Personal Protective Equipment and knowledge about the disease are limited.

There are reports Ghana’s costal lines are opened to Ghanaians resident in countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone where the disease is prevalent.

Dr. Sarkodie wants innovative ways to monitor the movement of such citizens.

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