There are few things scarier than the unknown. And as far as West Africa was concerned, a year ago Ebola was the unknown. It was scary when it hit, and more frightening still when it began to spread throughout the region. And while the initial media sensation seems to have died down in other parts of the world, Ghana is still on high alert – even though they have no confirmed cases of the disease.
By now, nearly everyone (at least those with access to the media) has heard about latest and most dangerous outbreak of the Ebola virus. That includes how it is spread, the communities that are ravaged by infection and the ever increasing death toll. They’ve heard about the plastic gloves, the inherent fear of the authorities in war-ravaged countries and the warnings from the World Health Organisation not to close the air routes to Ebola-affected countries.
But, when it comes to Ghana and Ebola, there are a few things you need to know. For a start, there are no known Ebola infections in Ghana. 37 suspected cases in Ghana have undergone tests, and all of them have come back negative. But, with cases confirmed on either side of Ghana – and the borders remaining porous, people are right to continue their vigilance.
President Mahama is taking the Ebola matter seriously; that’s for sure. He has been on a tour of affected West African countries in order to demonstrate solidarity – and to ensure that people understand that borders do not necessarily need to be closed; they simply need to be stringently monitored. More than diplomatic visits though, the president has agreed that Accra can – and should – serve as a base for aid headed into the affected counties. And, this could just prove crucial for those that are valiantly toiling to contain and treat Ebola affected areas. After all, with direct flights and other transport cut off from these countries, ensuring that everyone receives the care and supplies needed is difficult work without a local base. That is exactly what Accra will be – provided that everyone comes to the party as expected by the Ghanaian president.
When you consider the interconnectedness of all the West African countries, and indeed everyone – wherever they live – then it’s worth pausing to think about the importance of Ghana’s responses towards the crisis. It’s certainly not easy – especially with so many facets of the latest Ebola outbreak still unknown and undetermined.