Two-time presidential candidate of the opposition New Patriotic Party [NPP], Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has expressed worry over government’s obvious unpreparedness for any deadly Ebola viral infection eventuality.
According to him, there appears to be “no comprehensive nationwide programme to give the people of Ghana proper information on Ebola” by the government.
The NPP stalwart believes officialdom is toying with a potential health hazard saying Ebola’s unparalleled infection rate coupled with a thriving bad hygienic practice in a region where handshakes are a norm, makes public education on the disease quite vital.
Recently, the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) sounded an alarm bell when it claimed the country has not made any arrangement(s) to contain what is already a pandemic in countries such as Liberia and Sierra Leone—a picture which has already sent chills down the spines of a few Ghanaians.
As of August 4, this year, WHO says there have been 1,711 reported cases of the disease, over 1,000 of which have been confirmed, and 932 deaths due to the virus.
An Inter-Ministerial task force comprising the Health, Interior, Communication, Defence and Local Government ministries, which are mandated by government to help prevent possible outbreak of the epidemic in the country, concluded its session Monday.
At the end of the closed-door inter-ministerial crunch meeting which also included members of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), the Health Minister, Kweku Agyemang-Mensah, announced the setting up of three Ebola isolation centres for the entire country which will be completed in two weeks’ time.
The isolation centres, which are part of strategies government has put in place to fight the Ebola scourge, are expected to be fitted with technical and personal protection equipment to deal with the situation in the event of an outbreak.
But to the former NPP Flagbearer, government needs to intensify its education of the masses on the deadly virus, stressing that “prevention awareness education is the best cure.”
He added that the ripple effect of Ebola’s transmission across countries on the continent pass it to be categorized a deleterious endemic, thus the current situation where the mass media rather appears to be leading the awareness creation leaves much to be desired.
“In the last few weeks, in my travels across the country, I've used the opportunity to have conversations with ordinary people on issues of public concern, including the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in some neighbouring countries.
“…I have been disturbed by the lack of public education out there. There appears to be no comprehensive nationwide programme to give the people of Ghana proper information on Ebola. It is as if the work of public education has been left entirely to the mass media with no policy direction or deliberate support from Government,” he said.
In a post on his Facebook Wall, Nana Addo pointed out that “Key to preventing and controlling this outbreak lies in the hands of public officials in the form of public education programmes. We need to see and hear more about how to prevent, detect or deal with the disease in our efforts to stop it from spreading to Ghana and beyond.
“…Lack of public education fuels panic and the consequences of public ignorance could be disastrous,” he said.
He however advised that It is better to spend wisely now to educate the public than to spend more later to deal with the predictable, potential consequences of being hit by the pandemic because we did not prepare well enough against it.
Join me in urging Government to do a lot more to increase public education about Ebola. It is imperative in preventing and containing this unprecedented outbreak. Prevention awareness education is the best cure. God bless you”.
Source: Ambrose Washman/Peacefmonline.com/Ghana
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