Avoid Ebola rumour, speculation and report facts – health authorities


Mr. Modou Njie, director of health promotion, communication, and education, Mr. Sanna Sambou, head of disease control and prevention at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare made this call last week at the National Nutrition Agency office at a half-day orientation  of media practitioners on the Ebola situation in country.

The two senior health officials also urged journalist not carried stories that will create panic and fear in society while assuring the media that they will provide timely and updated information on Ebola.

Mr Njie told journalists that his ministry deemed it necessary to call on journalists to share with them information on the Ebola situation in The Gambia and the sub-region. “We have been working very hard to get the right information for public consumption. Since the outbreak of Ebola, we were providing helpful information to the public through regular press releases to avoid speculation and rumour and the media has been very supportive.”


He said: “Our aim is for everyone to know about the Ebola virus and take precaution. There is no need to be worried; the situation is under control, and there is no cause for alarm as there is no confirmed case of Ebola in The Gambia. “

He said the meeting was meant to update the media on the social mobilisation and communication strategy adopted by the Ministry of Health. “We are training our health workers on crises/rumour management with the help of the United Nations system through the World Health Organisation (WHO). We have developed several posters and fact sheets for distribution and display at various health facilities and communities across the country,” he said, adding that, they have also developed a guideline for health workers on Ebola.

Speaking earlier, Sana Sambou, head of disease control and prevention reminded journalist that his unit is responsible for disease control and prevention in The Gambia noting that Ebola is not a Gambian disease.

He said there are 37 different types of diseases in The Gambia and described Ebola as a deadly disease capable of killing within a few days. “Ebola is a killer disease caused by a virus. It spreads quickly from person to person. It can be prevented. Ebola is spread through direct contact with wounds, body fluids like blood, saliva, urine of person suffering from Ebola among others.”

Mr Sambou further explained: “We meet weekly to share timely and update information on the Ebola situation in the sub-region. We have also strengthened our surveillance system to detect and investigate such cases of Ebola at the border and airport entry points. We are worried because Ebola kills quickly and even health workers are not spared.”

Omar Badjie, head of non-communicable diseases at the health ministry also urged the media to disseminate correct, consistent and timely information on Ebola, as it will help the public to know the situation.

Muhammed Sawo, deputy director of health promotion said “diseases have no boundaries, if your neighbour is affected, you too can be affected.” He said.

Ms Fatou Touaray, the head of health journalists in The Gambia said health reporters will endeavour to report timely and accurate information on Ebola as they have been doing since the outbreak was reported in February 2014.


By Sainey Marenah