Ghana is not ready for Ebola-GMA contradicts gov’t assurances

Contrary to the glossy assurances by government about its readiness to fight Ebola, the Ghana Medical Association says the country will be doomed if there is an outbreak.

The Association insists there is little or nothing on the ground to show the country is ready to fight Ebola.

The scourge with a potential of wiping away communities has killed close to a thousand people across the West African sub-region with Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria worse affected.

Ghana which is neighbor to these countries is desperate to keep the virus out of its borders.

The government has set up an inter-ministerial committee to find possible ways of keeping the virus out of the country or contain it if it breaks out.

The Health Minister, Dr. Kweku Agyemang Mensah shortly after an inter-ministerial meeting Monday said the country is ready to fight Ebola.

He said the committee has reviewed the work done so far and is confident the country is winning the war against Ebola.

“We are convinced that we’ve managed to do a  lot of work. We have strengthened the  surveillance system,” he pointed out.

He said they are now trying to put isolation centres in place across the country and that will be done in the next two weeks.

Dr Agyemang Mensah said the frontline workers have already been trained and are undergoing some simulation exercises.

The head of disease surveillance at the Ghana Health service, Dr. Badu Sarkodie, who agreed in part with the Health Minister, told reporters they are now in the process of securing land for the isolation centres.

But the members of the Ghana Medical Association who are expected to be at the frontline in the fight against the virus say they do not share the optimism of the Health Minister.

Deputy General Secretary of the GMA, Dr. Justice Yankson said the country’s “level of preparedness is bad.”

He said the frontline workers are yet to be trained, contrary to assertions by the minister.

“We don’t have a land for isolation centres” he stated, a confirmation of earlier reports that suggested that all regions have now been directed to provide a land for an isolation centre.

Citing an Ebola scare in Bawku in the Upper East Region, Dr Yankson said doctors and other health workers “out of desperation” had to improvise by wearing “plastic materials to cover their whole body.”

He said Liberia has been “shut down” because they were ill-prepared to fight the scourge.

He added that Ghana has the benefit of time to be able to learn from the Liberia experience but is not doing so.

“If we wake up tomorrow with 10 people affected by the virus [the country will be in trouble]” he stated.

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