Ebola Response: Gov’t bans international conferences in Ghana for three months

All international conferences scheduled to be hosted in Ghana between now and the next three months have been cancelled, government has announced.

According to Communications Minister, Dr. Edward Omane-Boamah, the decision forms part measures being implemented by government to prevent the spread of the deadly virus into the country.

Ebola has claimed over 1,000 lives across West Africa since the latest outbreak was first reported in March this year, with Guinnea, Sierra Leone and Liberia being the hardest hit countries while Nigeria has reported a number of cases and three deaths.

Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals.

Government on Thursday directed the release of GHȼ6 million to fight the world’s deadliest epidemic which has no known cure. Government also announced plans to procure 10,000 protective gears for frontline workers in health, immigration and other agencies who are most likely to encounter a possible victim.

“Also, the President advised that consistent with the decision of the ECOWAS Commission that all meetings and missions be suspended unless absolutely essential and well-guided, a three (3) month moratorium be placed on all international conferences and international gatherings which have the potential of spreading the Ebola Virus,” Dr. Edward Omane Boama, Communications Minister, told Joy News.

“…reviewing the situation in the sub-region (over 1,700 suspected and confirmed cases with associated mortalities) government felt the need to scale up the response…so we will be able to respond,” the Minister added.

Health sector response
On 11 August, the World Health Organisation (WHO) convened a panel of medical ethicists, scientific experts, and lay people from the affected countries to consider and assess the ethical implications for clinical decision-making of the potential use of unregistered interventions.

In the particular circumstances of this outbreak, and provided certain conditions are met, the panel reached consensus that it is ethical to offer unproven interventions with as yet unknown efficacy and adverse effects, as potential treatment or prevention.

Ethical criteria must guide the provision of such interventions. These include transparency about all aspects of care, informed consent, freedom of choice, confidentiality, respect for the person, preservation of dignity and involvement of the community.

Signs and symptoms
EVD is a severe acute viral illness often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. Laboratory findings include low white blood cell and platelet counts and elevated liver enzymes.

Infected persons can easily infect as long as their blood and secretions contain the virus. Ebola virus was isolated from semen 61 days after onset of illness in a man who was infected in a laboratory.

The incubation period, that is, the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms, is 2 to 21 days.

  Story by Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Jerry Tsatro Mordy | [email protected]

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