Sarjo Camara Singateh
Mr. Momodou Njai, the Director of Health Promotion and Education Directorate at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, said health officials are present at the border points in the country.
Mr. Njai said this in response to the story in the Foroyaa captioned “Non visible presence of health officials at two border posts” published on Monday, 11 August 2014.
According to the head of the health promotion and education directorate, the story does not reflect the reality on the ground as they have health workers stationed at the border entry points. “When the story was published, nobody was happy here as it created confusion which led me to contact regional health teams to ascertain it, but they expressed surprise,” he said.
He said they investigated the matter and have found out from their health teams at the said places that the story is not accurate. “They said they have not seen any reporter there. You know public health workers sometimes don’t put on uniforms and they work with the security hand in glove,” he said.
The Director of Health Promotion and Education said he is thanking the reporters for going to the borders, but added that they should be consulting them first before embarking on such missions so that they will link them with the regional health teams. “We want the media to be contacting us before publishing any report on Ebola,” he said.
“We are not saying that all the borders have public health officers but we are at places like the seaport, airport, Karang, Nyamanari, Sabi, Siliti and Mandinaba,” said the Director of Health Promotion and Education.
He added “Our surveillance system is one of the best.”
Mr. Njai said they do not want stories that create confusion or chaos. He said the media reported a suspected case in Matam, Senegal, but which later proved to be negative.
He said they are also concentrating on the Nyamanari and Sabi border posts in the Upper River Region (URR) as these are entry points for people from Guinea and Sierra Leone. He said they have strengthened their capacities there by adding extra public health officers and are also involved in community sensitisation together with other public health officers in Basse and its surroundings.