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Education Stakeholders Meet To Strategise On Ebola Crisis

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Stakeholders in the educational sector have met in Accra to discuss and strategise on how to prevent and respond to the Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) to protect students from basic and second cycle schools.

The meeting, was attended by an inter-ministerial committee, representatives from the Ministries of Health, Transport, Education and the Ghana Health Service. The first meeting was for the tertiary level where institutions open earlier than the pre-tertiary level.

Other stakeholders include representatives of parents, Directors of Education, representatives from Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS), District Directors, representatives from private schools and religious heads.

Opening the forum, the Education Minister, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang, said even though education is the focus for the meeting, transport, health and other sectors are needed because of the nature of work of the education sector.

The Minister noted that the education sector is vulnerable to the EVD because many people come together under one roof for longer period of hours. These hours also increases where boarders were involved, this, she said, would not augur well if there should be an outbreak of the virus.

This, she said gives the people in the sector an important role to play by teaching students well on the virus.

Prof. Opoku Agyemang noted that the preparedness of the Ministry is key, thus it is important to get information to know what to do and where to go when there is a reported case in order to avoid panic.

Dr. Kyei Fareed, Head of Department of Disease Control of the Ghana Health Service, said there has been a national preparedness responds plan by government since the outbreak of the virus was heard in the sub region.

The plan is to ensure that the disease does not enter Ghana from outside our boarders, he said at the Kotoka International Airport, there is screening involving paper work, where people who enter are questioned about the disease and its symptoms.

Also questions on whether a person has come into contact with EVD patient by caring for, buried or stayed with a patient would have to be answered at the airport.

He said when a case is suspected the person would be held in the airport Holding Room, and a blood specimen of the person would be sent to Noguchi for laboratory test to confirm.

At the various points of entry in the country, Dr. Fareed said there are health workers who have been trained on the EVD. Out of 57 entry points, 14 have been designated based on international health regulations requirements.

Letters have also been sent to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Assemblies (MMDCEs) to dialogue with their chiefs so that they would inform the communities to be on the alert for Ghanaians who would come from EVD infested countries by boats. The communities are to alert authorities if any of these persons show symptoms of the EVD.

The Acting Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Mr. Charles Aheto-Tsegah, suggested to stakeholders to have discussion with heads of second cycle schools to get every student screened when they re-opened before they were allowed into their dormitories.

He revealed that the GES in collaboration with the UNICEF, has put together a multi-sectorial group that will help in preparing educational materials on EVD. He said the material is under-going some modification and was hopeful that it will be ready before the re-opening of the second-cycle institutions by September 16, 2014.

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