Ghana’s Ebola fight called to question as Ivorians enter through unapproved routes

There are doubts over Ghana’s preparedness in fighting the Ebola virus following a revelation by Western Regional Minister that Ivorian nationals use unapproved routes to enter the country without screening.

According to Paul Evans Aidoo, the security personnel are unable to stop them because they are mostly farmers who slog through footpaths to enter the country. This makes it difficult for the security to have them screened for the Ebola disease. 

This came to light when the Minister, together with Deputy Minister, Dr. Victor Bampoe paid ‘surprise visits’ to some border towns in the Western Region, Tuesday, January 6, 2015.

“Farmers living in Ghana go to farm in La Cote d’Ivoire others also come here and go back through unauthorized routes [and] you cannot do anything about it especially when you are dealing with the farmers. You can’t put security people all over the place; you can’t do that,” the Minister told Joy News’ Seth Kwame Boateng.

He said the only option is for government to intensify education on the disease and resource the various district assemblies to “monitor them”.

“…so we have put that in the hands of the DCEs (District Chief Executives) to ensure that we monitor them…it’s a matter of monitoring and education otherwise there’s nothing that we can do about it”.

Dr. Bampoe who is also a member of the country’s Ebola Emergency Operations Unit first visited the Jaway Wharf border where he found out that only three Port Health Officers work there. This makes their work difficult especially on Saturdays which is a market day for the local people. 

These officers report at 6am and close at 6pm.
At Half Assini, officials of the Immigration Service also told the Deputy Minister and his team that occasionally they have had to allow sick people from neighboring countries to enter Ghana even when the Port Health Officers were not available to screen them. 

This according to the second in command, DIS Isaac Nukporfe is because, immigration officers there have no formal training in screening persons entering the country, apart from the fact that there are no such equipment there to screen.

Dr. Victor Bampoe assured the officers, their concerns will inform the government’s next action plan to ensure no one enters into the country unchecked. Story by Ghana | | Jerry Tsatro Mordy | [email protected]

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