Doctor worried over Ghana’s poor Ebola preparedness

A Medical Superintendent at the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital in Dominase in the Ashanti region has expressed worry that measures to contain any Ebola outbreak are tepid and lax.

Dr. Prince Kwakye Afriyie says the absence of personal protective equipment (PPE) for hospitals in the country is deeply troubling especially in the wake of an Ebola scare in the infirmary Tuesday.

Luv FM’s Erastus Asare Donkor reported that a man believed to be in his late 20, died in the hospital with suspected symptoms of the Ebola virus, Tuesday, causing panic in the area.

The World Health Organisation announced more than 2,000 people have been killed across four west African countries – Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria.

The deceased was left unattended to by frightened hospital staff, who did not have basic protective equipment with which to handle the patient.

According to Dr. Afriyie, the deceased reported to the hospital three days ago with a fever and was treated and discharged.

But the Pusiga native returned to the hospital, this time with blood oozing out of his orifices, Dr. Afriyie said.

Frightened hospital staff, suspecting the victim to be suffering from the deadly Ebola virus, called the District health authorities for PPE.

The Bekwai District Disease Control Officer, according to Dr. Afriyie, did not have any PPE “at the district level so he got in touch with the District Director [of health], who was at the region.”

Under the circumstances, “I was directed to take theatre scraps to go and take samples from the patient for testing,” the frustrated medical doctor narrated.

Dr. Afriyie is only hoping that the results are negative because the deceased came into contact with a number of persons both at the hospital and his home.

He said it was in the evening and after several frantic calls that the hospital received just one set of PPE and that came in too late for the patient.

Authorities of the Dominase SDA Hospital quickly quarantined the two hospital staff, who attended to the Ebola suspect in his previous visit to the hospital, the doctor said.

Responding to concerns about the country’s preparedness, Spokesperson for the Health Ministry, Tony Goodman said the 10,000 PPE the government ordered have arrived in the country, pending distribution to the various institutions.

He said learning from the affected countries where they ran out of the protective gears, Ghana would distribute them to institutions which need them most.

Joy News’ correspondent in the Upper East Albert Sore said the health ministry has fulfilled its promise to officials at the Burkina Faso border when he paid a working visit to the area recently.

They have been provided with the badly needed infrared thermometer to screen travellers entering Ghana from Sierra Leone, Guinea and other countries.

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