Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS) is the largest humanitarian organization in the country and is required by default to be proactive in the restoration of human dignity which at the moment stands the risk of being compromised with the unprecedented rise in cases of the Ebola virus.
Cases of suspected Ebola virus victims have been reported in several areas within the country but so far the Noguchi Memorial Research Institute in Legon has confirmed all of them to be negative.
Ghana Red Cross Society is taken into consideration the free movement of people across borders in the sub region; the potential of the virus getting into the country is very real. All the 10 regions in the country have been identified by the Ministry of Health as vulnerable by virtue of their geographical locations and family relations with Ghanaian citizens resident in some of the Ebola hit countries in the sub region.
As a major partner in risk communication and social mobilization, Ghana Red Cross Society is in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service to train 750 volunteers (30 per district) in 25 districts as part of its preparedness plan to support the risk communication and social mobilization efforts of the Government.
The 25 districts will come from all the 10 regions of Ghana. Ghana Red Cross Society volunteers will conduct sensitization and social mobilization activities in the selected border districts in support to the Health Authorities efforts in social mobilization as part of the country’s preparedness and response.
In addition, the capacity of the National Society will have increased considerably to be able to prepare to respond and manage Ebola case should the country confirms cases.
Ghana Red Cross Society has received an appeal support from the Swiss Red Cross to support the training of the 750 volunteers to be well prepared to fight against Ebola outbreak in the country through social mobilization activities. The fear of the unknown and its consequent speculations and perceptions are what is surrounding the dread of the Ebola virus in Ghana.
As records show now, No cases of Ebola have been recorded or confirmed in Ghana so far, but information on its incidence and effects have been received with a lot of apprehension, scepticism and uncertainty. Ghana has to put in place preventive measures aimed at Ebola prevention, infection prevention and control, early case detection and isolation.
Most of the recognized entry points have medical staff of Ministry of Health ready with thermo graphic (infra-red) cameras to identify suspected cases coming into the country. However looking at the porous nature of our borders, majority of the people coming into Ghana do so through several illegal routes thereby avoiding the tests.
The Ministry of Health and government have so far set up emergency response teams in all 10 regions and provided them with Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). Isolation centers are to be also put in place in all regions but so far only 4 have been completed.
So far what is lacking is the social mobilization and risk communication at the community level. Ghana Red Cross Society with its comparative advantage in social mobilization has the capacity to fill this gap through interpersonal engagement at the community level.
Training has therefore been done for Ghana Red Cross heads of department at the National level and the Regional Managers as well to go and do step down training for their volunteers in selected districts especially areas that are noted to be border point of entry into the country.