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Health Ministry convenes emergency meeting on Ebola situation

Sep 1, 2014, 9:18 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The director of Health Promotion and Education, Modou Njai has made its clear to the general public on national television that despite the fact that it part of our custom and culturehand-shaking should be stopped for meantime, as Gambia is in high alert.

He noted that initially people were advised to minimise hand-shaking, but as at now they should stop it for the time being as the situation is worrying in neighbouring countries.

Mr Njai was speaking to GRTS on Saturday following the recent outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in our neighbouring country Senegal.

The ministry of Health and Social Welfare convened an emergency meeting to discuss the outbreak of Ebola in Senegal, and one of the main agenda items of the meeting was to adopt a series of measures to strengthen the surveillance system in The Gambia, he said.

Mr Njai highlighted the state of readiness of The Gambia in the event of any eventuality.

He said currently the health personnel are currently monitoring the situation in Senegal, and that had prompted the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Hon. Omar Sey, to call on an emergency meeting to discuss on the situation in Senegal.

He said one of the outcomes of the meeting was to identify tasks to be done by people who have already been doing some of the those tasks, but they needed to change the strategy as they are now on high alert as a country, and based on that certain strategies needed to be reinforced and strengthened and one of them is the surveillance system, the case management and also the communication and social mobilisation which are very key.

He advised people to continue to look for signs and symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhea with or without blood and also blood coming from the ear, nose, other parts of their body, as well as high fever.

“This is what we want people to look for and report to the nearest health facility without delay, and this is what the ministry of health and social welfare are encouraging people to practice.

“People should not be worried; if they have any information, text messages have been sent to QCELL and AFRICELL, with the support of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and also the Gambia Tourism Board and their partners.

He said this is ongoing and the messages are there, and the telephone numbers are there for people to contact and they do not want people to panic.

He said currently there is no confirmed case of Ebola in the country, and there is no suspected case of Ebola as at now.

He also emphasised the need for people to stop hand-shaking for the meantime in the sense that they are on high alert because it is almost close to us.

“We don’t know who is who, and it is not safe to shake hands for the time being,” he said, and assured to update the public in any information received by the ministry of Health and Social Welfare.