Forty-two Ghanaian health workers who volunteered their services in the fight against the deadly Ebola disease in Sierra Leone and Liberia are meeting in Accra to form a National and Zonal Rapid Response case Management teams.
The workers, who travelled under the West African Health programme some months ago, would become front liners in case management teams in their various places of work.
[contextly_sidebar id=”1O4vhvLdaK4GgsmE1TdUcAoiGPcAPw1y”]Some of them helped in managing some of the cases of Ebola, while others handled support work such as laboratory work, public health and the direct management of cases.
They brought on board wealth of experience in managing, cases, surveillance and burial.
Dr Victor Bampoe, Deputy Minister of Health, who addressed the meeting in Accra, said the formation of the teams had become necessary for the event of recording a case.
He said: “So Much has been asked from you and you still continue to give willingly. The country is proud of your achievement and sacrifice not even to your own country but to other countries. You are indeed gallant men and women.”
He also commended the Director of Institutional Care Department, Dr Sam Kaba and Mr Robert Kwame deGraft Agyrako, Technical Advisor to the Emergency Operations Centre for the extra-ordinary leadership they demonstrated.
“Government is solidly behind you and would support and recognise you. We are been comforted that you had hands on training.”
Dr Kaba said the 42 member Team are a valuable human resource and have what it takes to become front liners in case Ebola breaks out in the country.
He said the personnel could be relied on until the rest of the health forces are roped in case numbers increase.
Dr Kaba said the country would be divided into three zones- the Northern, Southern and Middle belts.
He noted that that the team members would be stationed in their various hospitals and be summoned when the need arises.
“Ghana is preparing from single purpose response to an inclusive purpose approach to limit duplicating efforts” said Mr deGraft Agyarko”.
He urged the teams to approach the task with dedication and selflessness as they did in the two Ebola stricken countries.
Sharing his experience, Mr Seth Agyeman, a Biomedical Scientist who was nicknamed “Batman” recounted how he had an encounter with a bat at an area where evidence had shown that almost all the creatures were Ebola infected.
He said: “The Bat entered the bus we were riding in and hit me in the face. I struggled with it, killed it and had it buried.”
Mr Agyeman said the psychological trauma started and “It was then that I wished I had not embarked on the journey. At our Hotel, everyone on the bus had to bathe in chlorine and the painful part was washing my eyes with chlorine solution because of the likelihood of an infection from the bat”.
“From then on little increase in my temperature sent shivers done my spine,” he said.
Mr Agyeman said scientists working with the European laboratory ensured that his blood samples were tested from time to time and each time the result were negative.
“Thank God nothing happened to me,” he said.
A total of 116 volunteer health workers were dispatched to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone in response to a call by the Economic Community of West African States summit in Accra on November 6, 2014.
The number of Ghanaian personnel exceeded the expectations of the Health Minister who initially anticipated about 20 health workers.
A total of 42 people made up of doctors and other cadres of health workers volunteered to be part of the response effort and all came home without any incidence.