Authorities of three institutions; University of Energy and Natural Resources (UNER), Catholic University College of Ghana (CUCG) and the Sunyani Polytechnic have instituted measures to deal with the Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) on their campuses.
Dr Samuel Fosu Gyasi, Lecturer, Department of Environmental Engineering, UENR in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Sunyani, said a committee has been tasked to develop a handbook to help create awareness about the disease among the university community.
“The handbook contains a training manual for teaching and non-teaching staff and their families, visitors, health workers, labourers, cleaners, and casual workers on the signs and symptoms of the disease, and also provides first aid tips” he added.
Dr. Gyasi explained that, their primary concern is against fear and panic within the university community, while ensuring sufficient information, to demystify any outbreak and heighten the level of consciousness and alertness.
Dr. Gyasi, a Research Fellow in Sanitation and Infectious Disease said the university is liaising with the Sunyani Regional Hospital to provide assistance to effectively check any outbreak.
He said the committee intends to set up an emergency response team to mount surveillance at the student hostels and report anyone with signs and symptoms of the disease.
Dr Gyasi said the university has five foreign students from Nigeria and would thoroughly screen them when they report for the 2014-2015 academic year.
He said a Nigerian student on campus showed no signs or symptoms of the disease, even though he returned recently from Nigeria.
Dr Gyasi said the university authorities are currently undertaking an exercise to “spray all walkways with disinfectants, although bat to human transmission is very rare”, with more attention on human to human transmission.
He said in addition, a holding centre for suspected cases will be set up and sprayed frequently to prevent health workers and other people from contacts.
Dr Gyasi appealed to the Ministry of Health to facilitate the provision of logistics such as Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and non-contact thermometer to detect sudden rise in temperature of people.
He said adequate education has been provided for both the staff and non-teaching staff on the signs and symptoms of the disease, while students will be grouped and educated on the disease, to sensitize them and also create awareness.
Others are the use of banners, posters and flyers to help disseminate adequate information on the disease and sustain the measures until the World Health Organization (WHO) reduces the alertness level.
Mr Abubakari Yakubu, Chairman of the Epidemic Management Committee at CUCG, at Fiapre, said a committee has been put in place to manage the outbreak of the disease.
He said volunteers have been trained on the signs and symptoms of the disease and to report to the appropriate authorities any suspected case.
Mr Yakubu said there is a sensitization and aggressive education going on for the people through posters, short message systems (sms) and transferring knowledge from lecturers to students.
He said the authorities will soon organize a seminar for the students on the disease, while a holding centre is being put up for suspected cases, adding “We have put our house in order to manage the situation”.
Mr Charles Alex Cosmos, Public Relations Officer, CUCG, expressed concern about the lack of effective surveillance at the various entry points in the country, adding that, “Most people including students are not screened at these entry points”.
“We should be well prepared at the entry points to check the transmission of the disease with adequate logistics and intensified border surveillance,? he added.
Mr Cosmos appealed to the Ministry of Education to assist educational institutions with the provision of PPE in case of any suspected case.
He said an orientation for foreign students from Nigeria, Benin, and Cote d’ Ivoire as well as other students about the disease is scheduled for the week.
Dr George Adjei – Hinneh, Physician at the Sunyani Polytechnic, said 50 volunteers who would provide information on suspected cases have been identified in the various hostels.
He said health personnel from the Ghana Health Service (GHS) have sensitized the students and organized a forum as well, to educate the volunteers on the disease.
Mr Emmanuel Kwame Amponsah, Public Relations Officer, Sunyani Polytechnic said no foreign student has been admitted, however, the authorities intend to screen suspected cases.
He said volunteers will continue to educate the students and non-teaching staff and urged the lecturers to assist in sensitizing students about the disease.
Some of the students who spoke to the GNA said, apart from the posters on the disease on campus, they have information about the disease from the mass media and called for the screening of foreign students on the campus.