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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Gambia strengthens Ebola preparedness

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Addressing a group of young activists and volunteers at a day-long Ebola preparedness and sensitisation programme, senior laboratory scientist at the public health laboratory office in Kotu, Bakary Sanneh said: “All three suspected Ebola samples sent to Dakar for laboratory tests proved negative, meaning there is no confirmed case of Ebola in The Gambia. In order to stop or avert Ebola, you must be knowledgeable about the virus. We are putting up measures and strategies to prevent the spread of Ebola in The Gambia. We have sent three samples to Dakar for testing which prove negative. Ebola is a highly contagious disease which can spread quickly. WHO has provided us with the gadgets used in the process of collecting samples to prevent health workers catching the virus while treating patients .We did not have the capacity to do testing of Ebola here, so we sent suspected samples to Dakar for testing for confirmation or result”.

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Also speaking, the director of health promotion and communication at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Modou Njie, described the sensitisation as “timely” considering the dangers posed by the deadly Ebola virus.

“This is an important day in the fight against Ebola and to stop it from entering The Gambia. Youths are crucial players in the health sector. In order to win the battle against Ebola all hands must be on deck. The efforts of the four groups are laudable which shows that young people want to join the fight against Ebola.

“We are happy to partner with you in this very important crusade to complement the efforts of the government in the fight against Ebola. We are operating as a team to see so that if there is any suspected case of Ebola, we will be able to collect samples and send them to Dakar for testing. There is no cause for alarm or panic, as there is no suspected or confirmed case of Ebola. The government through the health ministry has strengthened its surveillance across the borders and key point of entry,” he said.

Sana Sambou, head of disease control and epidemiology, said: “Before you tell people about Ebola, yourself should know about it. Since the outbreak was reported by WHO, we as a ministry share vital information on Ebola while also sensitising people about its signs and symptoms.   Ebola is a global health issue and therefore, it needs concerted efforts and resource mobilisation to fight it. We don’t have any suspected case of Ebola in The Gambia, that’s why we have strengthened our surveillance system. We have gone a long way in addressing the Ebola issue in our national health plans. We are also working with partners to mobilise resources to fight Ebola as well as scale up our interventions because Ebola is everyone’s business.” 

The participants were drawn from various youth groups in The Gambia including Fong4Life, Lend-A-Hand Society, Young African Leadership Initiative Gambia and Lamin-based Star Fish International.

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