By Sailu Bah
The Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital Sanatorium located at Mile 2 in Banjul used for the admission of Tuberculosis patients is now being utilised as a major quarantine center for Ebola suspects and victims in the Gambia.
This was confirmed by the Principal Diseases Control Officer of the Department of Health Mr. Abdoulie Camara in his office at Kotu on Tuesday 16th September 2014. Mr. Camara was approached to update our readers on Ebola, the preparedness of the authorities and the challenges being faced as regards control and prevention. He informed this reporter that the Tuberculosis patients are now transferred to the AFPRC hospital at Farafenni to continue with their treatment.
Camara said they have other major referral centers throughout the country and added that they are really working on two referral centers in Basse, the Nymanari and Sabi referral Centers together with the Soma referral center. He said they are working on improving the referral centers at Basse and Soma and added that these referral centers for any eventuality are at the moment 80% prepared and by next week, they would be 100% intact with all the necessary materials and resources.
He said the Referral center in Banjul and other places are all 100% prepared. Tents and other resources are given to all health facilities for the referral of any Ebola suspect. Mr. Camara said there are proper materials and beds with trained personnel at each referral center and health facility and also at each official border post. He added that there are further screenings at the Airport entry point and also a referral center at the outskirt of the Airport for any Ebola suspect.
“GT board has recently donated very important materials which will help in the fight against Ebola” Mr. Camara interjected.
He stated that Ebola is a global problem and not only a Sub-regional problem; therefore, he said it should be a national concern and the responsibility of each and every individual and institution is to contribute to the fight against the Ebola disease.
“Ministry of health alone cannot do it but it should be a concern of the society, individuals, parastatals to fight against the Ebola disease which is dangerous,” he opined.
He said the media should also take the lead in sensitizing people on Ebola to create awareness and added that everyone should be involved in the fight against the disease.
Mr. Camara intimated that a sub-committee has been established 2 months ago, and this committee consists of different stakeholders, such as the National Disaster Management Committee, Gambia fire and rescue Service, among others.
He said this committee meets every Tuesday with the department of health and discuss the strategies they should work on during the week in the fight against Ebola, and this group, he said also reports to the National Task force on their previous activities and approval would be given by the National Task force and recommendations made for the way forward.
He also revealed that the National task force which was established since the Ebola disease became a matter of national concern meets every Wednesday to report on their previous activities and discuss the way forward in the fight against Ebola.
Mr. Camara said fighting Ebola needs a lot of resources that is why it has to be done stage by stage. “Ebola cannot be fought at once because it needs lot of resources so it has to go through stages,” noted Camara.
Principal Diseases Control Officer , Mr. Abdoulie Camara, of the Department of Health urged all media outlets especially the radio stations to give the health personnel air time in order to be able to sensitize the general public on what he describes as a dangerous disease.