Sarjo Camara Singateh
“It is evident that since the outbreak of Ebola in the sub-region, the Gambia remains free from the deadly virus and the authorities are doing everything to maintain the efforts,” said Mr. Sanna Sambou of Epidemiology and Disease Control Unit of the Ministry of Health.
Speaking to this reporter at his office on Monday, 21st July 2014, Mr. Sambou said they have public health officers at border posts who collect information or data of persons coming into the country from places or countries that are known to have cases of the infection.
“Currently we are looking at potential suspects like people coming from villages or settlements where the disease is present,” he said.
Mr. Sambou said they are screened based on surveillance method and not clinical method where the samples of the person would be taken for laboratory test.
He disclosed that at some point, they came across some people who were believed to have the symptoms but after referral to the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, they all became negative. He said they are working hard to protect the country from this deadly virus.
The Gambia is amongst other West African countries that relied on the only World Health Organisation (WHO) accredited Laboratory in Dakar which has been in operation for a long time.
New cases and deaths attributed to the Ebola Virus Disease continue to be reported by the ministries of health in three West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Between 15 to 17 July 2014, 67 new cases of EVD, including 19 new deaths, were reported from the three countries as follows: Guinea, 0 new cases and 0 deaths; Liberia, 22 new cases with 10 deaths; and Sierra Leon 45 new cases and 9 deaths. These numbers include laboratory – confirmed, probable, and suspect cases and deaths of EDV.
As of 17 July 2014, the cumulative number of cases attributed to EDV in the three countries stands at 1048, including 632 deaths. The distribution and classification of the cases are as follows: Guinea, 410 cases ( 301 confirmed, 95 probable, and 14 suspected) and 310 deaths (203 confirmed, 95 probable, and 12 suspected); Liberia, 196 cases ( 76 confirmed, 56 probable, and 64 suspected) and 116 deaths (54 confirmed, 40 probable, and 22 suspected); and Sierra Leone, 442 cases (368 confirmed, 48 probable, and 26 suspected) and 206 deaths (165 confirmed,35 probable, and 6 suspected).
It goes without saying that an effective guard against the influx of persons infected with the Ebola virus would require an effective screening process at our border posts. In short, we need the required number of adequately competent personnel at borders to detect and examine suspects for possible referrals. Are these measures already in place? Foroyaa will find out.