PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICERS IN URR VOW TO MAINTAIN EBOLA FREE COUNTRY

By Lamin Fatty

The public health officers in URR recently conducted an Ebola simulation exercise at the Sabi Border post to show their preparedness on EbolaParticipants at the Workshop
surveillance. The exercise was part of their monthly retreat which is an important occasion among health officers to share and learn best practices on public health issues with the objective of promoting professional excellence in the region.

Addressing the officers at the Sabi border post, Mr. Ebrima K. Jallow and Mr. Malick Singhateh, the Desk Officers of Basse inducted their colleagues on the importance of the activities carried out by Health Officers on Ebola, ranging from proper hand washing with detergent, screening of travelers coming into the country, recording their particulars(name, sex, age, travel history, destination and contact of the host), taking their temperature, conducting rapid diagnostic tests for malaria, etc and later take them to the identified treatment and isolation center at the border post.

For her part, the Health Officer on duty Ms. Isatou M. Jallow welcomed her fellow Officers to Sabi Border post on what she described as a noble exercise on Ebola surveillance and prevention.

Mr.Bakary Kinteh, the PRO of the Association who doubles as the Surveillance officer for Basse, said his association initiated a monthly retreat at each facility in the region which according to him brought all Public Health Officers to share relevant information and best practices regarding public health interventions. He underscored the importance of the monthly retreat and Ebola simulation exercise as very crucial for the empowerment of the people, while demonstrating their commitment and level of preparedness on Ebola surveillance and prevention.

The Director of Health Services in URR, Mr Jaiteh praised the Public Health Officers for their foresight in organizing such an event and urged them to do their best for the country; noting that health is all about sacrifice to save the lives of others.

The Regional Public Health Officer, Mr. Fofana expressed his gratitude to the officers for being dedicated and committed to quality health service delivery in the region. “This shows how versatile and innovative Public Health Officers could be and health is unlike other ministries as we deal directly with human lives. Any mistake in health leads to loss of lives which is not compensated, whereas mistakes made by other ministries like agriculture lead to crop failures, etc,” he opined. He further urged the health officers to be steadfast in their service delivery and always be on alert as Ebola is now an international public health emergency.

The commander at the Sabi border post, Mr Tamba and his colleagues expressed their readiness to support the Public Health Officers in executing their functions at the border post.

The Public Health Officers of Basse took their time to show their colleagues how to wear and put off Personal Protective Equipment for Ebola, how to conduct emergency response in case of a suspected Ebola victim, how to conduct proper screening of travelers coming into the country and what to do if suspect is found in a  community.

At the end of the session, questions and answers were entertained to clear doubts and Public Health Officers from other health centres in the region promised to live up to expectation and vowed to maintain Gambia as an Ebola free nation.