The World Health Organisation representative to Ghana Dr Magda Robalo has warned that the Ebola threat is still real despite a significant drop in figures.
“Take disease threats seriously. We do not know when the next outbreak will come or what will cause it, but history tells us it would come”, Dr Robalo said at a Symposium organized in Accra by the Ghana Medical Association (GMA).
The symposium was under the theme, “Ebola; have we gone to sleep?”
There has been a significant improvement in the number of recorded cases in recent times. Liberia, one of the worst hit countries has recorded no new case in two weeks.
Despite the improvement, Dr Robalo said Ghana should not relent in efforts to stay prepared in case of an outbreak.
“This means investing domestically and internationally in prevention and the essential public systems for preparedness, surveillance and response which are fully integrated in the line with efforts to strengthen health system in be included in the scope of developing assistance for help,” she said.
She added, “we should remain vigilant.
This Ebola outbreak is far from over. We must sustain our support to the affected countries until the outbreak is over but we also need to continue with preparedness in non-affected countries.
In the face of increasing complacency and growing fatigue, we should not stop the preparedness activities we have started”.
Actually we should scale them up. We must continue to maintain a high level of surveillance. Ebola has demonstrated its capacity to spread it may do so again.
Meanwhile, President of the Ghana Medical Association, Dr Kwabena Adusei Poku has called on government to establish an infectious disease center that will cater for all viral diseases including Ebola.
According to him, even though Ghana has not recorded an Ebola case yet, an infectious disease center can be used for research, training and other services, saying “when Ebola comes, it may be too late so we are saying that lets prepare”.
“There are some countries like US who never thought that Ebola will come but they prepared. We are here at times just common maize that we need to grow and eat, we have troubles. If we have the centers and we are not using them, we might use them for other diseases.”
However, Deputy Health Minister, Dr Victor Bampoe debunked assertions that the Ministry has gone to sleep on the issue of Ebola following some successes chalked by the 3 worst affected countries.
Speaking at the same function, he catalogued a number of preparatory measures the Ministry was undertaking against Ebola, stressing, “we have not been sitting ideal. We believe that if there is Ebola anywhere then there is Ebola everywhere”.
He said, “we have been continuing to support the efforts in those countries (Ebola-hit countries). We are strengthening our alert early warning systems. We are doing that with the help of the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Deputy Health Minister also revealed that the Ministry was sourcing funds from the World Bank to establish an infectious disease center.
“We have already got a piece of land in Kumasi. It will do exactly the three things you talked about; research, service and training” he said.