Ebola: Ghana Is Safe-MoH



The Outgoing Minister for Health, Hon Sherry Ayittey has revealed that no case of Ebola has so far been recorded in Ghana, advising the public to remain calm.

In a statement signed by the outgoing sector Minister, Sherry Ayittey, tests on the specimen of the American who suspected to be carrying the proved negative after it was sent to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research.

Below is the full statement

The Ministry of Health wishes to bring to the notice of the public the current Ebola situation in the sub-region and particularly in Ghana. Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia continue reporting increasing number of Ebola cases. As of 3rd July 2014, a total of 779 cases including 481 deaths (case fatality ratio 61.7%) had been reported from 6 districts including Conakry the capital of Guinea.

Ghana had a test case a few days ago when a foreign national with travel history of a visit to one of the affected countries. He fell sick and was rushed to one of our hospitals and the clinical presentation led us to suspect Ebola Virus Disease. As most of us are aware, specimens have been sent to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and results are NEGATIVE.

After four laboratory test, all proved negative. The Ministry wishes to advice the public to remain calm. The Ghana Health Service Surveillance Team is working very hard especially in the area of public education to raise the required awareness and get all to practice the highest level prevention and control measures.

I take this opportunity to greatly commend the management and staff of Nyaho Medical Centre who worked hard during the period without going home to save the life of the patient with professionalism and dedication, this is highly appreciated.

? Ebola is a severe, infectious often-fatal disease in humans that presents with high fever and bleeding. There is no vaccine against Ebola.
? It is very infectious and kills in a short time BUT Ebola can be prevented.

Ebola virus disease is characterized by sudden onset of fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is often followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and bleeding tendencies (both internal and external) that may include blood spots in the eyes, blood in the vomitus, sputum, urine or stool, bleeding from the nose and other body openings.

The spread of this current outbreak is commonly person to person through:
? Close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected or dead animals.
? Direct physical contact with body fluids of infected persons like blood, saliva, stool, vomitus, urine, and soiled linen.
? Burial ceremonies where mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased person can play a role in the transmission of Ebola.

As a country, we have in place a preparedness and response plan with the following major components:
? Risk communication-social mobilization and health education
? Epidemiological and laboratory surveillance (in human and animal)
? Case management
? Logistics, security and financial resources
? Coordination
In implementing the above mentioned plan,

? Public education is ongoing, and some posters and brochures have been developed, printed and distributed. Key messages in the educational materials are as follows:
? Avoid direct contact with body fluids of a person suffering from Ebola by using protective materials like gloves, goggles, and masks
? Disinfect the beddings and clothing of an infected person with disinfectant
? Persons suspected to be suffering from Ebola should be taken to the nearest health unit immediately
? People who have died from Ebola should be promptly and safely buried under strict supervision
? Persons who have died of Ebola must be handled using appropriate protective wear and buried immediately under strict supervision
? Report any suspected cases of Ebola to the nearest health unit immediately
? Wash your hands with soap and water after handling a patient or the body of a person who has died of Ebola
? Providing information to people about the nature of the disease, it spreads, and how it can be prevented.
There is continuous media interaction to enhance collaboration and boost public education on the disease.

? On surveillance, the country is on high alert and has activated the system to a very high degree.
? All frontline staff have been trained to identify any suspected cases
? The field officers are on the alert to pick package and transport specimens to the lab for confirmation

For more information:
1. Dr. Badu Sarkodie ? Deputy Director (PH) & Head, Disease Surveillance Department, Ghana Health Service. E-mail:sarks60@yahoo.co.uk
2. Dr Kyei Faried ? Deputy Director (PH) & Head, Disease Control and Prevention Department, Ghana Health Service. E-mail:kyei.faried@ghsmail.org
3. Dr Sally-Ann Ohene ? Disease Prevention and Control Officer, WHO Country Office in Ghana. E-mail: ohenes@who.int

Thank you for your attention.




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