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Health News of Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Source: cameroon-tribune.cm

Ebola surveillance reinforced at SW border posts


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The people of the South West and particularly those along the major entry and exit localities are busy with their daily chores; but there is one major preoccupation on many lips.

They listen to the radio, watch television, read newspapers and are therefore abreast with the deadly consequences of the lethal Ebola virus (or Marburg) in some West African countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea (Conakry). A confirmed case has been reported in Nigeria.

When CT yesterday, July 31, 2014 visited Idenau, one of the main border transit towns by sea to neighbouring Nigeria, it was business as usual to the ordinary citizen.

Fishing and passenger boats were at the beach, ready to go to sea either for fishing or to transport passengers and goods to Nigeria and even beyond. But what special measures have been put in place to screen arrivals of travellers?

To nib the virus in the bud, an entire surveillance system has been set up ever since cases were confirmed in some West African countries. "We do not screen people one by one because no confirmed case has been identified. What we currently do is surveillance," revealed Dr Manjo Matilda, District Medical Officer (DMO) for the Limbe Health District that covers right up to Idenau.

She noted that since the epidemic was declared in Guinea by the World Health Organisation on March 25th 2014, Cameroonian authorities have not sat on their laurels. Ministerial Decision No 0480 of July 7, 2014 signed by Health Minister, André Mama Fouda, appointed health officials at border health posts throughout the country to reinforce surveillance against the dreadful Ebola virus.

Officially concerned in the South West Region are the border health posts of Limbe, Tiko and Idenau. "Health workers in the border posts report to us on a weekly basis," Dr. Manjo Matilda told CT. "Now that a confirmed case has been reported in Nigeria, we should take it serious."

Regrettably, the border with Nigeria is porous and for some inexplicable reasons, there are no official border health posts in some frontier areas like Ekok, Eyumojock, Mbonge and Ekondo Titi.

A circular from the Health Minister signed on April 7, 2014 and addressed to all Regional Delegates of Public Health, calls on them to sensitise the population on precautionary measures and what to do with suspected cases.

A case definition for the Ebola virus has been distributed to health centres differentiating a suspected case from a confirmed case.

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