Prevention, key to halt spread of Ebola

Omane Boamah 2014

Omane Boamah 2014

Accra, Aug 19, GNA – Communications Minister, Dr Edward Omane Boamah, says Ghana needs to do all it can to prevent the fast-spreading Ebola pandemic from entering the country.

Prevention is at the heart of the Ghana’s preparedness he said and added that it should not be seen as wishing Ebola into the country.

‘As a country, we should be able to first prevent the disease from crossing our borders. If it does, we must control it; and all of these can be done by educating the public,’ Dr Omane Boamah said.

The minister made this known when he met the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) and Private Newspapers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) to draw a media strategy to educate the public on the Ebola disease.

The recent outbreak of the disease, which began in March in Guinea, has spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and now Nigeria. It has so far killed about 900 people out of 1,134 cases recorded.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies have been made available to keep health workers safe in case of any recorded case while government has also ordered additional PPE for large screening of persons, the Minister said.

‘A stimulation exercise would be held in the next two weeks to test what has been done and the country’s readiness even though we do not wish for it’, Dr Omane said and added that the first treatment centre   sited between Accra and Tema   would be completed in the next week or two.

For now all international conferences and gathering have been suspended unless such gatherings are of absolute necessity while modalities would be put in place to handle suspected cases before the universities resume academic work considering the large population of over 6000 foreign students from neighbouring countries.

The Minister said public education was very instrumental in the prevention of the disease in the country and commended the media especially the electronic media for airing audio messages on the prevention.

The inter-ministerial task force would be providing resource persons and messages for media to ensure that credible message tailored for each constituents are carried across and also prevent an over load of information.

According to him government has no intention of covering up on Ebola cases as being rumoured because it would be disastrous for the country

He said if basic hygienic practices such as hand washing with soap under running water are used by Ghanaians the prevention of the disease won’t be a difficult task.

The President of the GJA, Mr Affail Monney called on the media to be circumspect in their reportage on the disease and noted that technical persons should make themselves available to the media to ensure the flow of credible information.

Executive Council Member of GIBA , Mr Steve Ato Eshun, also called for one message from credible resource persons to ensure a successful public educational campaign and added that GIBA would assist in that direction.

Nii Laryea Sowah, Executive Secretary of PRINPAG said the Ministry should go beyond press releases but place adverts as well especially in the private media. GNA EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE

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