Ex-President John Mahama may possibly have ready for a possible Ebola outbreak but Ghana would not have been ready to consist of it at the time without having a scar to show for it.
I was in Monrovia, Liberia doing the job as a journalist in 2014 when the Ebola Virus Sickness (EVD) tore by means of Guinea, and Sierra Leone. A Liberian colleague with a different information organisation reported that a motorist experienced introduced in an Ebola affected individual from Guinea. This assert, as envisioned, was denied by the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf -led authorities. Months later on, hundreds of hundreds of Liberians were infected and numerous died more than a period of time mainly because of the irresponsibility of the authorities.
Though my big concern at the time was my basic safety, I was equally troubled by how Ghana was going to manage an Ebola outbreak thinking of how lethargic our governments have been in the previous. In this write-up, I will examine how John Mahama tackled the Ebola crisis in conditions of planning, logistics and dedication, concluding that Ghana did not history a one circumstance not for the reason that of the endeavours of the governing administration but fairly the aggressive steps taken by our neighbours this sort of as Ivory Coastline.
Planning for an outbreak is an significant barometer of the motivation of any government. In actuality, our elders say that when your neighbour’s beard is on hearth it will serve you effectively if you can attract closer to a very well. Possibly in the party yours also catches fire you will be able to get a extensive dive into the drinking water. It seems our governments are nonetheless to find out anything at all from this common injunction.
I returned to Ghana in Could 2014, to satisfy a nation and its citizens disappointingly unprepared for the Ebola virus. Very little was likely on by way of general public schooling. It took the Mahama-led governing administration astonishingly ten months to appear out with a nationwide strategy to fight the ailment. The federal government declared the “Ghana Preparedness and Reaction Strategy for Ebola Viral Disease” in August 2014 following recognising the enormity of the obstacle forward. With an estimated cost of about GHË25 million, the crucial highlights of the intervention ended up (a) screening at details of entry, (b) isolation of suspected, probable and confirmed instances, (c) diagnosis and affirmation of situations, (d) scenario management, (e) speak to tracing, (f) burial and secure disposal of death from Ebola virus ailment (g) psychosocial assist for the circumstances and the family members and, (h) social mobilisation.
As was predicted, the international local community elevated many issues about the sluggish implementation of the prepare. Jim Bever, a International Provider officer with USAID wrote that: “We had been anxious that two or a few amounts down, the government of Ghana did not seem to be to share our sense of urgency or that of its official donor team (which USAID chaired).” He explained the speed of the plan’s implementation was sluggish and that knowledge of Ghanaians about Ebola and the “cultural and behavioural modifications that would be desired to consist of a achievable outbreak was continue to minimum.” The other concern was the preparedness of the safety businesses for possible “massive investigations, quarantining and riot control.” The verdict of the international group and a vast majority of Ghanaian professionals with regards to the preparedness of the authorities of John Mahama for the Ebola virus was damning and detrimental, but it was the truth of the matter.
“We and our fellow guidance donors, alongside with intercontinental security and wellness professionals, judged that, so much, the preparedness steps Ghana had taken were being needed but not still ample for its individual defense,” Mr Bever concluded. It took a collection of meetings involving USAID, professionals from Facilities for Illness Regulate and Prevention (CDC), and the Nigerian epidemiological group to get the Ghanaian governing administration to recognize the enemy the three-affected nations around the world in the sub-area have been working with. The government was afterwards to build an Inter-Ministerial Task Power on Ebola to spearhead the campaign.
Logistics & dedication
Mr Mahama’s authorities went into motion right after it recognized the require to put together its citizens for a attainable Ebola outbreak. The governing administration procured about 10,000 protective garments suits for professional medical staff and three Ebola Isolation Centers were crafted to handle the outbreak. A lifestyle coverage offer was introduced for overall health personnel to inspire them to aid in addressing the situation in the party of an outbreak. The governing administration also established up a rudimentary screening and temperature testing at Ghana’s airports and official border crossings. Then serving as the head of the Economic Local community of West African States, Mr Mahama agreed to a proposal by the United Nations to established up its regional reaction logistical base – UN Mission for Ebola Unexpected emergency Reaction (UNMEER) in Accra to service the three most afflicted countries. The governing administration in collaboration with the Environment Overall health Organisation (WHO) and Medecins sans frontiers (MSF) trained health and fitness pros and retooled hospitals in the confront of a probable unexpected emergency outbreak. Mr Mahama and his workforce later on rolled out other measures but they ended up not more than enough to get ready Ghana for a attainable outbreak.
The important position performed by Ivory Coastline & airlines
The intense strategies carried out by the Ivorian federal government and airline businesses ought to be praised and credited for the basic safety of Ghanaians. Ivory Coast announced a border closure with its neighbours to avert the spread of the Ebola virus at the exact time that Mahama’s government unveiled the authorities Motion Prepare. In simple fact, the French-talking country experienced banned flights from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone days previously. Other nations such as Gabon, Senegal, Cameroon and South Africa took comparable steps. Addressing ECOWAS Wellbeing Ministers in Accra, Mr Mahama reported reactions to the Ebola outbreak, like border closures and flight ban, ended up alternatively getting damaging repercussions in isolating and worsening the condition of the influenced nations.
In the same way, the WHO described the evaluate as counter-successful. But a few decades afterwards the measures taken by Ivory Coast proved handy and most productive.
Also reacting to the outbreak, airline providers banned flights to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. I bear in mind viewing a journey agent in Monrovia to get a ticket to Accra only to be advised that no flight was shifting as a consequence of the ban. These actions, though drastic, counterproductive and intense, ensured that citizens of the 3 worst-hit nations had no access to their neighbouring countries, which includes Ghana.
Although acknowledging the endeavours of Mr Mahama’s government in insulating Ghanaians versus the Ebola virus, it is significant to notice that Ghana would not have been ready to endure the outbreak without having a scar. This is mainly because the government’s planning and initiatives were pitifully and patently inadequate. Ghana was saved by Ivory Coast, airline providers and the other international locations that share a frequent border with the 3-worst hit nations.
Soon after January 2016, there had been a full of 11,315 deaths from the Ebola virus with the pursuing breakdown, Liberia (4,809), Sierra Leone (3,955), Guinea (2,536) and Nigeria (8).
There was no single situation recorded in Ghana and this should really not be wholly credited to the attempts of Mr Mahama.
About the Creator
The author, A. Kwabena Brakopowers is a progress communications practitioner, journalist, essayist and a novelist whose performs target on politics, gender, migration, global relations and improvement. He could be arrived at at Brakomen@outlook.com