Health Ministry gives an update on Ebola

Sarjo Camara Singateh
The Directorate of Health Promotion and Education under the Ministry
of Health and Social Welfare and with support from UNICEF,yesterday, 2rd of March, 20 15 convened a media briefing to give an update on the Ebola Virus Disease.
Addressing the media at the briefing, Mr. Modou Njai, the Director of
Health Promotion and Communication, said the Gambia remains free from
the Ebola Virus and that the people should stay calm and not be panic
even though some countries in the West Africa sub-region are battling
with the outbreak.
He commended the media for the critical role they are playing in the
dissemination of health information, especially since the outbreak of
Ebola.
Mr. Njie paid tribute to all their partners who have been supportive
in one way or the other. He also called on the people to continue with
their vigilance and to be washing their hands regularly.
Responding to questions from reporters, Mr. Njie said the reason for
opening the border is in line with the international requirements. He
however added that persons coming from any of the affected countries
should show a certificate from that country’s ministry of health
indicating that one has been checked and screen. He said before one is
allowed to enter the county all the necessary personal information of
the person is taken and a follow up will be made to track them should
the need arises.
The Health Promotion and Education Director also revealed that the
Ebola Hot line ‘1025’ has yielded dividend, as people are calling and
that they have a data bank to store all the communication that pass
through it. He said other GSM operators are also coming up with other
initiatives to generate more publicity on the issue of Ebola.
Mr. Amadou Wuri Jallow of the Epidemiology and Disease
Control Unit said the Gambia is still considered by the World Health
Organisation (WHO) as a priority high risk country based on its
geographical proximity to affected countries and that is through trade
and merchandise, migration and immigration of population and the
strength of the health system. He said this is why the WHO
Preparedness Support Team is providing technical and physical support.
Mr. Lamin Kanyi, a health promotion officer, gave a run down of the
report by WHO as at 25th February 2015 on the Ebola situation in the
sub region and the world at large. He noted that 23,729 cases and 9604
deaths have been recorded with Guinea Conakry having 3155 cases and
2091 deaths; Liberia 9238 cases with 4037 deaths; Sierra Leone 11,301
cases with 3461 deaths; Mali 8 cases and 6 deaths; Nigeria 20 cases
and 8 deaths and lastly Senegal with 1 case and no death.
On other parts of the world, he said Spain and the United Kingdom have
both recorded 1 case each and no deaths, while the United States
of America had 4 cases with 1 death.
For his part, Mr. Sanjali Trawally, the deputy director of the
directorate, noted the media is playing an
important role in informing the masses, adding that this briefing is
part of their strategies to keep the public informed on unfolding
developments and the efforts being made to maintain an Ebola free
Gambia.
Bakary Sonko from the same directorate noted that their ministry and
partners are working hard to make sure that Gambia will not see a
single case of Ebola.
The briefing was chaired by Ms. Mariama Dampha, Health Promotion
Officer at the Health Promotion and Education Directorate.