Accra, Oct. 24, GNA – The Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council on Friday organized an Ebola Emergency Response Planning Workshop for stakeholders in the region aimed at coming up with a Regional Action Plan on the Ebola Epidemic.
The workshop on the theme: “Responding to the unlikely event of Ebola epidemic”, is also to have a thought through and implementable action plan towards regional and district preparedness in the event of an outbreak.
Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo, Greater Accra Regional Minister, said the focus of the workshop was also to activate District Assemblies Health providers and other stakeholders to be adequately informed and prepared for the unexpected.
He said Ebola is a disease that possesses unknown risk to the very survival of mankind that has already caused extensive havoc to human kind, adding that, the disease is not just a health risk but has gone beyond an epidemic into a security threat.
He said the disease has so far claimed about 4,500 lives across the West African sub region, including 2,200 in Liberia alone, saying that, currently the disease can be found in every county in Liberia, whereas in Sierra Leone, five people are infected every hour.
Nii Agbo noted that the World Health Organisation has predicted that over 10,000 cases may be reached shortly and has also admitted that the disease is running faster than the current worldwide capacity to deal with it.
He said a research conducted by the Northern University of USA has warned that Ghana is among the top countries at risk of recording an Ebola outbreak before the end of October considering Ghana’s geographical location.
He noted that it is for this reason that the region needs to put in place preparedness and response structures and mechanisms in readiness for any eventuality particularly in the districts and communities.
The Regional Minister said the workshop would therefore enable the region to come up with Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies action plan to adequately and effectively detect, monitor and manage the outbreak should the unexpected occur.
Dr. John Eleeza, Deputy Director of Public Health, said the Ebola virus, which was formerly known as haemorrhagic fever, has an incubation period of twenty one days, after which the victim start showing signs and symptoms of the disease.
He said currently the outbreak has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Senegal, USA and Spain, adding that, the survival rate at the moment is 53 per cent in Senegal, USA, and Spain.
He noted that most African countries have suffered the outbreak due to their porous borders, mobility of people in the region, inefficient healthcare systems, and the effects of post conflict environment in affected countries.
Dr Eleeza said African countries have also been highly affected due to the poor level of training of health workers, traditional practices of care for the dead, involving direct contact and high patronage of traditional healers.
He said the effects of the outbreak includes breakdown of social norms, crippling of the health care systems, businesses and economies and increase in poverty.
He said Ebola prevention and control is based on early diagnosis and early reporting of suspected cases, increased awareness in communities and high index of suspicion among health care workers, effective epidemiological surveillance and contact identification and follow-ups, as well as early referral for treatment and lab testing.
Dr Eleeza said, with regards to preparedness, the Greater Accra Region has established Ebola committees, prepared a regional Ebola Virus disease outbreak preparedness plan, received and distributed 500 personal protective equipment to all districts and set up a zonal treatment zone as well as screening at the ports of entry.