The World Health Organization (WHO) has prepared the Gambia to contain a possible outbreak of the deadly Ebola outbreak. This is made possible through the provision of assortment of medical and other supplies to the West African nation on Tuesday.
The provisions include 4,000 sets of personal protection equipment, 2,000 copies of posters on the prevention and control of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), thousands of leaflets, fact sheets and guidelines for health workers on Ebola and other hemorrhagic fevers.
Ebola, a killer disease caused by a virus, spreads quickly from person to person. It kills in short period of time but it can be prevented. More than 200 people have succumbed to the virus in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
WHO Country Representative said the Gambia has been provided with detergents and other sanitary supplies to control infection, strengthen public awareness and mobilse social support. Dr. Charles Moses said the UN “is also mobilizing further resources to purchase some of the essential drugs needed in an emergency of this nature and to conduct cascade training for health workers in all the health regions to further equip front line workers.”
Dr. Moses said since health emergencies pose “far-reaching health, economic and social implications to individuals, families, health system and the country,” preparedness ahead of time is imperative.
The UN’s latest response came three months after the Gambia’s declared a state of preparedness for EVD. The agency’s health organization has since been working closely with the Health Ministry to put in place a number of measures, including EVD preparedness and response plan, and training of trainers for doctors and nurses, and briefing of health workers at Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul.
For the Health Minister, the absence of Ebola does not mean the Gambia should sit on its laurels. “There is no Ebola in the Gambia but there is no room for relent, lots of things have happened since the outbreak of Ebola in the sub-region,” Omar Sey said. Minister Sey said the Gambia’s surveillance system, which has proven very effective, is worth emulating.
“It’s just last week I came from attending a ministerial leadership awards, one of the things we showcase as a small country that can make it happen thanks to its committed people,” he said, assuring WHO Representative of his ministry’s commitment to effectively utilise the donated materials.