The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority in collaboration with the Port Health Unit of the Ghana Health Service, has embarked on a sensitization drive within the port community to educate stakeholders on the new coronavirus emerging from the Far East, with special focus on its prevention.
The Coronavirus, which has been declared as a global health emergency by the World Health Organization originates from Wuhan, China, and has brought significant concern among players in the shipping and maritime industry considering the role China plays in international commerce, and migration.
Ports across the world have been identified, as the potential conduit for the spread of the Coronavirus and Ghana’s health authorities have resolved to ensure the country prevents any form of spread of the disease.
Thus, the sensitization drive is channelling all the needed cooperation from stakeholders of the port, including Port operators, shipping lines, clearing agents, security officials, importers and exporters of goods, ship suppliers, among many others to ensure that the disease does not make it through Ghana’s ports.
The team of health experts visited the Tema Fishing Harbour where they educated management and staff and later proceeded to the Tema Fishing harbour canoe basin and Tema Fish market to sensitize fishermen and fish mongers some of whom come into direct contact with Chinese sailors.
They were guided on precautionary measures against coronavirus infection including good hygiene practices.
Director of Port Health, Raphael John Marfo cautioned workers to avoid going aboard vessels without the permission of the port health who have to conduct mandatory health checks to declare the vessel is safe.
“Any vessel coming from China, we are expected to go through all the necessary screenings by WHO,” he alerted.
According to the Head of Medical Services at Tema Port, Dr. Vitus Anaab-Bisi, the exercise is very necessary due to the high level of business interactions Ghanaians have with Chinese and encouraged Port Users and the General Public to take precautionary measures very seriously to ensure that no Ghanaian gets infected with the virus.
“We want to appeal to you to just follow the instructions given to you and try and give us a feedback,” he urged.
The Chief Fisherman of Tema, Nii Adjetey Mator, commended the initiative but called for improved sanitation at the Tema Fishing Harbour, to avert all forms of diseases.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Meanwhile, the Tema General Hospital and the Ridge Hospital in Accra have been announced as the case management centres.
The educational campaign would be ongoing in other places around the port community and beyond till the Coronavirus is brought under total control.