1 August 2014

West Africa: Ebola Outbreak - Ghana Bans West African Flights

Accra — GHANA has banned flights from other West African countries following the outbreak of Ebola virus.

The Managing Director of the Ghana Airport Company, Charles Asare, said this was part of elaborate emergency measures the authorities are implementing to contain the virus.

In addition to this, restrictions have been imposed on the movement of Liberian refugees still at the Buduburam Refugee Camp.

There is an outbreak of the Ebola disease in the West African sub-region which has already claimed over 600 lives.

Affected countries include Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

Ghana's Health Ministry has announced that efforts are underway to establish Ebola treatment centres across the country.

The centres are to be located in Accra, Kumasi and Tamale to cater for the southern, middle and the northern zones of Ghana.

Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Mensah, admonished Ghanaians to be patient because the government is doing its possible best to protect Ghanaians.

"It is worth bearing in mind that preparedness is not an event but a process," he said.

Even though a suspected fever case which was reported at a clinic in Ghana was negative, Ghanaians have expressed fear about the possible spread of the disease in the country due to closeness to the four countries where deaths have been recorded.

Governments in the sub-region are putting in place stringent measures to prevent the further spread of the disease.

This has generated concern over the readiness of local agencies and the government to contain the disease if a case is recorded in Ghana.

The sector Minister further noted that there was ongoing public education in which posters and brochures have been printed and distributed.

Frontline staff at health facilities and those manning the various border posts into the country have all been sensitized to identify any suspected case.

According to him, the disease surveillance system in Ghana has been placed on "high alert through intensification of viral hemorrhagic fever surveillance, the field officers are on the alert to pick, package and transport specimens to the lab for confirmation."

The respective health officers at Ghana's ports have been given orientation in the detection of cases at points of entry.

"We have activated a system for screening all passengers especially from countries that have recorded cases," Agyeman-Mensah indicated.

He said government is in the process of procuring and prepositioning personal protective equipment and is awaiting more supplies.

All health facilities across Ghana have been directed to set aside holding rooms or isolation facilities as well.

The Health Minister gave the surety his outfit is keenly monitoring the progression of the Ebola disease in West African nations.

"The epidemic is far from slowing down and we must as a nation do all we can to keep it at bay."

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