In determination to help prevent the deadly Ebola Viral Disease from entering into Ghana, World Vision Ghana (WVG) has launched a programme dubbed: Inter-faith Preparedness Programme.
The programme was aimed at providing World Vision Ghana and its stakeholders a clear direction that includes emergency response with recovery and long term development in perspective.
In his inaugural address, the National Director,World Vision Ghana Mr. Hubert Charles, noted that WVG recognizes the critical role churches and other Faith communities in its priority objectives.
Adding that, the response to the disease by the government and international agencies has been insufficient.
This he said, brings Ghana as a country at risk from the neighboring countries suffering from the disease.”It is therefore neccesary for Ghana to take precautionary and preventive measures in the fight against Ebola”
According to him, it is in this regard World Vision Ghana is putting in preparedness and response for early detection and containment of any outbreaks in the country through an Interfaith approach.
That is the collaboration with other sector Ministries, Departments and Agencies and Development partners.
“We recognize faith communities and Faith leaders as key Channels of Hope and effective vehicles of education for national survival and development. We know that each one of us has been deeply touched by the Ebola epidemic, and we are becoming aware of the unique role the Faith Community, and specifically the role Faith leaders can play”
According to Mr. Hubert, their long time commitment is to be working with the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service, Faith Based Organizations and the media to create more awareness and preparedness to tackle the prevention of Ebola in the country.
“World Vision Ghana is ready to partner with various stakeholders like you to spread the gospel of resisting one of the most deadly diseases of public health concern. The Ebola virus according to the World Health Organization (WHO) causes an acute, serious illness which is often fatal if untreated. Ebola virus disease(EVD) first appeared in 1976 in simultaneous outbreaks, one in Nzara, Sudan, and other inYambuku,Democratic Republic of Congo. The later occurred in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes it name” he explained. This he said, the current outbreak in West Africa is the largest and the most complex Ebola virus first discovered. There have been more cases and deaths in this outbreak than all other combined. “Thedeadliest Ebola outbreak has quickly spread over the past few months, moving rapidly from Guinea into Liberia, Sierra Leone, and eventually Nigeria, with at least 2,127 suspected cases.
“First identified in March 2014, the virus has claimed the lives of 1,145 men, women and children, leaving governments and health providers struggling to contain this relentless virus and to avoid a globalized eperdemic”
More so, children are the most vulnerable group, including orphans who are isolated and bereft.
The Deputy Minister for Health Dr. Victor Asare Bampoe , indicated that so far no case has been confirmed in Ghana; but at the end of March, 2015 the country had reported 140 suspected cases all proving negative. This he said, Ghana as a country is at threat of an outbreak since it is located in the middle of countries that have already reported cases and registered fatalities.
He said, in the view of this, government of Ghana, through Ministry of Health and related agencies has put in place a number of preventive, prepositioning and containment strategies against any possible outbreak of EVD in the country.
“These include disease surveillance system, screening all passengers, especially from countries that have recorded cases, intensive public awareness campaigns, provision and the setting up of three treatment centres in Accra, Kumasi and Tamale to cater for the infected,in the event that the disease somehow finds its way into the country” he noted.
More so, he said the inter-ministerial team comprising the Ministries of Health, Communications, Defence, Interior and Local Government and Rural Development has been set up for case management, logistics, security ,financial resources and coordination.
Adding that, the government has also harnesses collaborative efforts in its approach by partnering with various local and international agencies. This he said, , upon all these interventions, critical response gaps still exist. He cited the following as an example: Awareness on the disease seems to have concentrated in national, regional and district capitals, Information, Education and Communication(IEC) materials have been insufficient for the level of awareness needed for the disease, Available information on the disease has poorly considered the language barriers in the country, leaving a huge portion of people uninformed about the disease and the unwillingness of many people to modify some attitudinal, religious and cultural practices susceptible to communicable diseases including Ebola Viral Disease.
He has therefore commended World Vision Ghana for coming out with such a laudable programme. Since they are first to work with government in the fight against EVD through an Interfaith programme.
By: Isaac Kofi Dzokpo/ spyGhana.com