Port health officials screen Ebola suspects manually due to logistical constraints

Port Health Authority officials at the Paga-Burkina-Faso border post in the Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East Region have resorted to manual screening of travellers for Ebola due to inadequate logistics.

The Upper East Regional Coordinator of Port Health, Mr Francis Nyamekye, who made this known, said the officials screened travellers coming through the border post, by the use of a questionnaire and sometimes followed up with physical examination and any suspected case was first quarantined at a makeshift structure for onward transfer to the Navrongo War Memorial Hospital, where there is an Ebola isolation ward.

Minister’s visit
Briefing the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Mensah, who is on a three-day duty tour of the three northern regions, Mr Nyamekye said they had no Thermo-flash to polish up their screening for Ebola.

‘We do not have personal protective equipment either and so we use improvised ones which are uncomfortable,’ he said, adding that most of the aprons were either too small or too big and the goggles broke easily.

Mr Nyamekye said 4091 travellers who disembarked and 1461 who embarked had so far been screened.

He explained that seven Sierra Leonians, two Nigerians, 80 Guineans and five Ghanaians had so far been refused entry into the country as they were from Ebola-prone countries and did not have any certification to prove they had been screened for Ebola.

The five Ghanaians, he explained, were travelling with Guineans for a convention in Accra.

Donkey carcass
Mr Nyamekye said with the help of the immigration border patrol team, they intercepted and buried the carcass of four donkeys that were being transported to Ghana.

According to him, the carcass of these animals had been smoked and were being sent to Kumasi to be sold as bush meat.

He appealed to the minister, as a matter of urgency, to help the Port Health Authority in the region to get personal protection equipment, a Thermo-Flash for proper screening, a vehicle and some computers to facilitate their work.

The minister commended the officials of the Ghana Port Health Authority and Ghana Immigration Service for doing their best in the midst of the constraints and promised to assist them get the required protective equipment.

He indicated that government had ordered some personal protective equipment that would arrive within two weeks and assured the officials that priority would be given to the boarder post when the equipment arrived.

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