American companies activate EBOLA response

American companies operating in the country have pledged to offer the needed assistance to the government in its EBOLA preparedness efforts.

The Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Victor Banpoh, said in Accra that needs kept changing depending on developments with regard to the outbreak of the deadly viral fever and called for the assistance of corporate bodies to meet such growing needs.

At an evening with the Ambassador of the United States, Mr Gene A. Cretz, the President of the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM), Mr Philip Ayivor, made it clear that although the companies were taking individual measures to prepare against the deadly disease which had affected the growth of affected countries, the companies were also willing to assist the government to meet emerging needs which may not have been initially factored at the planning of the response strategy.

The meeting, organised at the instance of AMCHAM, saw some companies taking turns to share their individual EBOLA preparedness and emergency response measures put in place to protect their workers and their families and the immediate communities in which they operate.

Newmont Gold Ghana, General Electric (GE), CocaCola Bottling Company Ltd and PwC were among the companies that shared the measures they had taken.

Some of the measures are as robust as what pertains at the national level which the companies said would also complement moves by the government to prevent EBOLA from coming into Ghana or be adequately prepared to deal with actual cases.

A common thread among the measures is awareness creation among staff, community and families about how to identify the disease, how to prevent it and what to do in the case of an outbreak.

Newmont Ghana said it had taken delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE), medical supplies and trained a nurse on how to handle an EBOLA case until the case is transferred to an isolation centre.

“We have done an EBOLA outbreak simulation exercise and out of the lessons, we have designed protocols and procedures to follow,” a representative of the mining company said.

Newmont also has thermal scanners on its premises similar to those at the Kotoka International Airport.

Coca-Cola has also taken delivery of medicals, PPEs, set out case handling protocols and has restricted visits to its facilities in the three most EBOLA affected West African countries — Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

It has also set up an emergency action plan with an escalation matrix for both affected and non affected African countries, with protocols on evaluation.

PwC Ghana office offers services to those countries most affected and, therefore, has carried out sensitisation in its Ghana office and has withdrawn some staff back to Ghana, while dispatching a few to carry out assignments when necessary.

GE ,on the other hand, has sensitised its 1,500 staff in Ghana and Nigeria to the disease, training other people to become EBOLA educators and has donated items to support countries affected by EBOLA.

The company’s representative, Mr Divine Akabah, said it was ready to assist Ghana.

source : Graphic Online

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