Ghana’s lawmakers have called for an “urgent” national preparation to forestall possible outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the country.
It follows a wave of fatal outbreaks of the virulent disease in neighboring Guinea and Liberia, where health workers have been battling to contain the virus since Monday.
At Wednesday’s sitting of the 275-Member Ghanaian Legislature, a former Minister for Health, Joseph Yieleh Chireh, read a pressing statement, calling for an “urgent meeting between the Ministers of Health, Interior, Foreign Affairs and the National Security Coordinator to discuss the Ebola outbreak that threatens our borders”.
That meeting –– the Wa West MP told the House ––– must also “propose measures to contain” the disease “in the event of the outbreak here”.
“Further, I recommend that an inter-agency taskforce be set up, consisting of relevant institutions under these three ministries and the National Security,” he added.
Mr. Chireh said, “We must not wait until the disease gets here before we act! The time to act is now”.
He added that the Ministry of Health, through the Public Health Division of the Ghana Health Service, must also monitor and regularly update the “Inter-Agency Taskforce on reports from particularly the entry points and border areas”.
He also recommended that “The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Taskforce, takes steps to stock the relevant medicines and prepare emergency teams in the event of the outbreak”.
Mr. Chireh, who is also the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Health, added that the taskforce “must initiate measures including public education and awareness creation about Ebola and other areas.”
“This House must also be briefed urgently on the proposed measures” he said days after UNICEF issued a statement on the outbreak in Guinea saying, “At least 59 out of 80 who contracted Ebola across the West African country have died so far”.
Another former Minister for Health, Dr. Richard Anane, added his voice to the Wa West MPs call. On his feet, the Minority Spokesperson for Health made a direct appeal to Ghana’s Ministry of Health to call an urgent meeting of Health Ministers within West Africa to discuss a collective strategy to fight the Ebola outbreak.
“…At that meeting they [the Ministers of Health] may have to find ways and means of stemming this condition,” Dr. Anane said.