Discord over Ebola readiness dangerous
While countries in the West African sub-region are working hard to halt the deadly Ebola virus from entering their countries, Ghana seems to be in a state of confusion.
Comments from the very institutions responsible for fighting the disease call for worry.
Director of Public Affairs at the Ghana Immigration Service, Francis Palmdeti has said only four of Ghana’s 42 legitimate entry points are equipped to handle the deadly disease.
According to him, only Aflao, Elubo, Paga, and KIA are secured to some extent to screen travellers.
In addition, there are lots of other unapproved routes into the country.
The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) also buttressed the position of the Immigration Service.
The Deputy General Secretary of the GMA, Dr Justice Yankson, said their major concern has to do with the preparedness of the facilities themselves.
He said the hospitals and clinics across the regions and districts are not clearly prepared for any "possible outbreak," adding that "looking at the way the virus is spreading across Africa, the country must be able to make adequate preparation so that if in an event there is an outbreak the country will be able to fight it."
Instructively, the Ministry of Health has cast doubt over claims by the Ghana Immigration Service that only four out of the country’s 42 legitimate entry points are equipped to handle the Ebola disease.
Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Health, Tony Goodman was sceptical about the statistics put out by the Ghana Immigration Service.
He said, “We’ve done a lot. We’ve gone out there to see some of those guys there to work so if Immigration is telling us that we have four, I am not sure about that.”
Tony Goodman stressed that the ministry has done a lot concerning Ghana's preparedness to deal with the disease.
It is disturbing to hear the Health Ministry on one hand say the country is prepared while the GMA, which constitutes the professional bodies, states the opposite.
The Finder is appealing to President John Dramani Mahama to quickly summon the Health Minister, Immigration boss and GMA leadership to draw up a comprehensive strategy to fight off Ebola.
Resources required to treat patients would be more expensive than resources needed to roll out strategies to prevent the disease.
Aside resources, the country also risks losing human capital needed to fight this dreadful disease.
An Ebola outbreak in Ghana will have dire financial consequences for an already struggling economy.
It has the potential to scare away potential first-time investors who may be planning to come to Ghana, as well negatively affect tourism as visitors may stay away.
We need to act now to prevent a clear and present danger.