The Gambian health authorities have announced on Monday the setting up of a Central Treatment Center, where it will manage coronavirus cases anytime a patient has been confirmed positive.
Although the country has not yet recorded any case of the deadly virus, neighboring country, Senegal has done so after a French citizen who landed at the country’s airport recently tested positive.
Sanna Sambou, the Coordinator of Epidemiology and Disease Control Unit at the ministry of health said the authorities are ensuring that they isolate any suspected person and manage the case properly. “We already have isolation centers where we can manage cases,” he said.
Sambou indicated that the health workers who are posted at the entry points of the country are carrying out medical tests and they will quarantine any person who is suspected until there’s an ambulance to take the patient to the isolation center for further examination.
“Every health center as well as the hospitals have isolation centers where they will keep the patient for a review where samples are taken and if it happens to be a positive case, we are going to move you to the central treatment center.”
“Any person who is positive will not be left in any hospital and that had been the treatment center for all Ebola cases. We have already set that place up and it’s ready to receive a case although we don’t really ask for any case,” he said.
However, he acknowledges the hitches that are hindering their work in terms of proper surveillance. “We need more mobility for our surveillance staff. Mobility is an issue since not every surveillance staff is mobile, like at the airport, there are ten of them and we are thinking about their upkeep and also to keep them moving. These are some of our challenges and we have to work with our partners so that we can address it as soon as possible,” Sambou told journalists.
He said community involvement and participation is another challenge. He urged the public to be collaborative in this fight by reporting all suspected cases to the authorities immediately.
Meanwhile, the director of health promotion and education at the ministry of health, Modou Njai, urged the public to avoid carrying speculations that will cause restless minds about the virus.
Dr. Desta Tiruneh, country representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) said the cases have been decreasing in China where it first broke out, new cases are increasingly detected in other countries around the world.
“The most important thing is that WHO will continue to give support for any eventualities. But it’s also very important we prepare ourselves so that when there is any suspected case or confirmed case, our system will cope and manage it in a way that the infection will not spread. I think it’s just a matter of time as any country can report a case at any point,” he said.
Tiruneh disclosed that WHO has a stock of supply in Ghana for the West African countries that can be quickly mobilized in terms of incident in any country. He said some personal protective equipment is also available which The Gambia will receive very soon.