By Amie Sanneh
The Director of Health Promotion and Education under the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Mr. Modou Njai has dispelled the rumour that there is a case of Ebola in the country. Njai , who was speaking in an interview with Foroyaa yesterday at his office said they have not got any confirmed or suspected case of Ebola.
“We want to dispel that rumour. There is no suspected case as of yesterday. We have not got any information as far as I am concerned because I know if EDC gets the information, they will let me know and I know that there is no information from EDC and there is no information from the regions. So I want to rule out that there is a suspected case to our knowledge. There is no confirmed case of Ebola to our knowledge,” he re-emphasised.
Highlighting some of the activities being undertaken by his ministry in the prevention of Ebola in the country, Mr. Njai stated that they have strengthened their communication as a result of the emergency meeting convened by the Minister last Saturday after the confirmed case in Senegal. He added that during the meeting they highlighted their resolve towards addressing Ebola in the country by strengthening their surveillance which includes laboratories, health facilities and community base surveillance. He said they also resolved to strengthening community social mobilization and case management. Njai noted that the Health Ministry is well prepared as they are organising ongoing case management trainings for Doctors, nurses and other health workers and currently the team is in North Bank after completing trainings in Banjul, Kanifing Municipality and West Coast Region. They want to target all the regions across the country, he said.
The Health Promotion Director further said that they have set up a regional preparedness committee in all the regions which are also answerable to the governor’s office. Similar committees are being set up at the district levels, he said. According to Director Njai, this is to help them in the flow of communication from the community, district, regional and national levels respectively. At the national level, Njai noted that they have set up a Case Management Committee and three case management centres have been identified in Banjul around Wencho, Soma and Sabi. He stated that they are able to get two ambulances from the National Disaster Management Agency and the Health Ministry was able to provide one ambulance and three vehicles. He said they have quarantine centres in each of the major health facilities and in the nine recognised border posts so that when they have any suspected case, they would take the person there for onward transmission to the treatment centres.
On the safety of the health officials posted at the borders, Mr. Njai stated that all the personnel have protective gears that they put on to avoid any possible infection.
On the issue of children going to school, Njai said they are working with the Ministry of Basic Education to produce some IEC materials to lower basic schools as part of their school base campaign and there would also be a health talk on Ebola.
He however called on people to stay calm, noting that there is no cause for alarm or panic. He said the public should consult them as and when necessary if they need any information. He also urged them to continue to avoid shaking hands, always wash hands with soap and running water. The Health Promotion Director also called on the public to use the contact numbers they have provided to report any suspected case of Ebola in their communities, households or institutions.