Ghana: Health workers return from Ebola-affected countries

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - Forty-two Ghanaian health workers who went to assist two of the countries in West Africa hit by the deadly Ebola virus arrived back home on Saturday, according to the Ministry of Health.

The local media quoted Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Victor Bampoe, as saying a welcoming party would be held for the workers who he described as "Ghanaians returning from the battle front".

They spent three months in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Guinea is the third West African country severely affected by the virus that has claimed more than 10,000 lives.

The Ghanaian health workers were quarantined in Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana's western neighbour, for 21 days to ensure they were free from the deadly virus.

Dr Bampoe said they also underwent another screening at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra.

He said the health workers, including doctors, nurses, psychologists and those helping in contact tracing, “are all very relieved to be here”.

Dr Bampoe said it was too early to say whether another group would be sent to the two countries.

"Even though we have not reached zero cases yet, the number of cases has gone down. What I can tell you is that speaking to my colleague deputy ministers and ministers of Sierra Leone and Liberia I know that the Ghanaian health workers made a huge difference because the Ebola treatment units in which they worked showed remarkable increase in survival rate," he added.

Meanwhile, Sierra Leone on Friday recorded a zero Ebola infection, the first time that would happen since the disease broke out in the country in May 2014.

PANA reported that the country has recorded more confirmed infection cases (11,751) than any of the three Mano River Union countries worst affected by the outbreak (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone), with the death toll in the country alone rising to almost 3,700, over one-third of the total Ebola deaths of 10,194.

Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma has announced a three-day national lock-down in a special radio broadcast on Saturday.

The President said the lock-down, which will start on 27 March and end on 29 March, will allow Sierra Leoneans to take ownership of the final push towards zero infection.

New measures announced by the President include travel ban on all citizens during the three-day lock-down, except for essential workers.

In a related development, Liberia has confirmed a new Ebola case, ruining hopes that the country would soon become Ebola-free.

A woman tested positive for the disease on Friday, punctuating 20 continuous days of absence of new cases.

According to the World Heath Organization (WHO), 42 days must lapse from the last known case before a country can be declared Ebola-free.
-0- PANA MA 22March2015

22 march 2015 06:48:01

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