Government, heads of tertiary institutions meet on Ebola

Ebola virus victimThe Chief of Staff at the Presidency, Mr. Prosper Bani, has urged Vice –Chancellors, Presidents, Rectors and Principals of all Tertiary Institutions to join forces with the government to ensure that the Ebola outbreak which has affected four West African nations, does not spread to Ghana.

Mr. Bani has also emphasized the need for effective cooperation and coordination of strategy between the inter-ministerial committee constituted by the government and the heads of all tertiary institutions in the country.

Mr Bani was speaking during a key meeting with the heads of tertiary institutions, including private tertiary institutions at the Flagstaff House on Monday morning.

A release from Flagstaff House copied to the Ghana News Agency on Monday said the meeting was called to coordinate efforts and strengthen preparatory planning and other measures that are relevant to preventing (and fighting, if necessary) the risk of ebola entering Ghana and on the various campuses.

According to the release, “It was revealed at the meeting that Government has procured 10,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to be given to frontline health workers. The Chief of Staff assured that health professionals working in both public and private tertiary institutions will also receive the PPEs when the consignment arrives in Ghana later this week.”

It said the Minister of Health, Dr. Kweku Agyeman Mensah, announced that Ghana had not recorded any cases of ebola so far. He stated that the 57 suspected cases reported so far from nine regions, with the exception of the Volta Region, had been tested and proved negative.

“The Health Minister gave the assurance that the government has established emergency response units across the country and already trained selected health personnel to man these emergency health facilities. Emergency expertise is also being provided at all entry points in Ghana, especially at airports”, the release further stated.

It said several heads of institutions gave updates on steps they had been taking to prevent Ebola, including setting up isolation units on campuses, public education of staff and students, procurement of Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs), distribution of free sanitisers and improvements in personal hygiene.

“The meeting agreed to ensure that all tertiary institutions establish emergency screening centres, intensify information campaigns on campuses, test simulation of preparedness exercises, and be ready to extend their health measures to communities around their campuses”, it said, adding that some of the speakers called for a more stringent observation of health procedures at the airports in particular.

The Minister of Education, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyeman, indicated that communication will be sent out by Wednesday the 20th of August 2014 on when it will be considered appropriate to commence the 2014/15 academic year.

Ghanaian Tertiary Education Institutions have 10,399 international students with 10,020 of this figure coming from African nations.

Other Ministers who addressed the meeting were the Minister for the Interior, Mr. Mark Woyongo and the Dr Edward Omane Boamah, Minister for Communications.

According to the release, samples of the 10,000 Personal Protective Equipment procured by Government were displayed at the meeting. GNA

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