The president of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) says the group plans on Tuesday to brief parliament about the country’s preparations for handling cases of the Ebola virus, which has so far affected four West African countries.
Dr. Kwabena Opoku-Adusei expressed concern that the country appears ill prepared to handle cases of the outbreak noting that medical gear bought by the administration to protect health workers is not enough.
“We are lucky to have a series of warnings so that we could be in a better position to be prepared when the disease eventually comes in country. But, I am afraid as at today, we are prepared on paper, but not prepared on the ground,” said Opoku-Adusei. “We have a scheduled meeting with the parliamentary committee on health and the [GMA] is going to make a presentation to them about how it can help alleviate the problem.”
Opoku-Adusei says the GMA will also brief the lawmakers about measures the government can take to combat the disease. He says the country currently has no medical structures in place to contain the virus.
Opoku-Adusei expressed concern about the country’s porous borders which could allow infected people to cross into the country.
“The actual treatment and management areas are yet to be set up,” said Opoku-Adusei. “Our borders are not well manned and are not well screened. We have reports that people just passed through from all [of the infected] countries into our country. So we are going to discuss that [on Tuesday]. As at today, assuming we have a case today or tomorrow, I am afraid we may not be able to manage it properly.”
The World Health Organization estimates that the Ebola disease has left over 1,069 dead. The affected countries include Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.
Government officials say equipment has been purchased to help with the treatment of Ebola cases. The ministry of health has so far released about $1,657,458 to help control the spread of the virus.
But, Opoku-Adusei expressed concern about the lack of public understanding about the disease.
“The level of education for the average Ghanaian is also low. Yes, our government is doing something, but we are afraid it’s not enough,”said Opoku-Adusei.
“There is some equipment in some of our centers, but then I am afraid they are not enough. And we are yet to do training for doctors and other health workers so that they have the confidence to restrain and manage the disease.”
Opoku-Adusei says medical professionals need to be adequately prepared to handle patients affected by the virus.