THE GHANA Health Service is upbeat about the tremendous benefits that will accrue to the country with the disinfection of imports and exports at the seaports, airport and the various points of entry and exit.
The Service is of the view that the country stands to make substantial savings in terms of combating infectious diseases that may enter the country.
Director of Public Health at the Ghana Health Service, Dr Badu Sarkodie, explains to the M&T Digest that the project is also in fulfilment of the World Health Organisation’s International Health Regulations.
“As a country, we have to institutionalise this and work with other stakeholders to ensure that the various components of the International Health Regulations are adequately adhered to and implemented and complied with in the country,” he said.
According to him, even though countries that are implementing the International Health Regulations are usually the developed countries, that does not in any way prevent Ghana from taking steps to enjoy the full benefits of the regulations.
“The benefit of it is to protect and prevent international spread of diseases without unduly slowing down or impeding trade and traffic and that requires that this disinfection exercise should be done,” he noted.
Independent investigations by the M&T Digest indicate that the African countries implementing the International Health Regulations are below 25% of implementation.
This places Ghana far ahead of them as Ghana will stand at between 65 and 70% of implementation when the disinfection exercise begins at the ports.
Crisis Management and Prevention Company, LCB Worldwide Ghana, has been contracted by government to undertake the disinfection of all imports and exports at in the country.
The company, which has already invested heavily in the project, is in the process of completing the construction of the disinfection tunnels in the ports of Tema and Takoradi.
Local construction firm SOD Construction Limited has been awarded the contract to construct and mount all 12 disinfection tunnels in the two ports, eight in Tema and four in Takoradi.
Even before the commencement of the exercise, some sections of the public have bastardised the project, arguing it will add up to the cost of doing business.
Whereas IMANI Ghana and The Ghana Union of Traders Association are kicking against the project citing cost, the Importers and Exporters Association are totally in favour of it.
They argue on the basis that the project is a very important one, a national one and is grounded in law by virtue of the Public Health Act, 2012 (Act 851).
But the Ghana Health Service believes those who are kicking against the project are ill-informed about its benefits to the country.
Dr Sarkodie explains that the main essence of the project is to mitigate undue introduction of infections that may come onboard ships.
“When the ships are on the high seas, they dock at various points and may come into contact with some infections and these infections would be killed quickly at the ports and airports before they enter the country. That way it makes things easier for everyone. The issue of loss of lives is eliminated and the government saves money in the process.
“You see, things of prevention, at times people look at the cost of some of these things and then they get scared but prevention pays. You invest just a little amount to prevent huge cost that can come as a result of negligence if you don’t put in the preventive measures.
“If you look at the cost of Ebola as it happened in the affected countries, it reversed their socio-economic development by more than 20 years and as much as possible, the amount of money not just from those countries alone, but partners who infused and introduced is so huge. So this little investment that you will do in prevention will save the country a lot of huge benefits,” Dr Sarkodie stated.
Tust last week it was reported that one person had died at the Tema General Hospital from Lassa fever.
To say that the biggest port in the country is the Tema Port and that the Lassa fever victim died in Tema lays credence to the importance of this disinfection exercise.
It is reported that some 33 persons have died from Lassa fever in neighbouring Nigeria.
It makes sense therefore to hasten with the project to guarantee a safe and secure country devoid of any hazardous infectious diseases.