Apr 01, 2020

The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority in collaboration with Port Health has continued the intensive sensitization campaign on the coronavirus in the port community. So far, nine cases which were suspected in Ghana have all proven to be negative.

Sea Ports can generally be considered as potential gateways for transporting any form of diseases from viruses and bacterial hence the introduction of the coronavirus sensitization campaign being embarked upon by GPHA and Port Health to ensure that the sea Ports do not become vessels to introduce corona virus into Ghana.

In all, the team of health workers, sensitized members of the fishing community, employees of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority and its stakeholders including the customs division of the GRA, as well as workers who work in and around the port enclave with the objective that all people who engage in some form of interactions in the port community are well informed about the disease.

Areas visited in a week-long program include, the Tema Fishing Harbour, the Golden Jubilee Terminal, the Mechanical and Civil Engineering Department, Fire and Safety Department, Printing Department, the Revenue Centre, the Tema Port Administration and Headquarters respectively. Stakeholders of GPHA, who were assembled include the Meridian Ports Services, the Ghana Dock Labour Company, the Tema Shipyard, the Shipping Lines, the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, transport unions, freight forwarders and Customs. The Food Markets in the port, were also visited during the sensitization program.

Dr. Vitus Anaab-Bisi, the Head of Medical Services, Tema Port, emphasized that Ghanaians, especially those working at the port, should not be complacent towards the prevention of the disease.

“Other countries can transfer it to us, so it is across the world. So please let us not stigmatize. All we need to do is get information and protect ourselves. And we should endeavour not to go on a vessel with bare hands,” he highlighted.

He entreated those who encounter ship crewmen at first hand, in the port, to be very cautious in dealing with them and report any suspected symptoms with health authorities.

The Director of Port Health, at the Port of Tema, Raphael John Marfo recommended precautionary premeasures including the wearing of nose masks and gloves for workers who go aboard vessels.

“When you are entering into a vessel be very careful. The first thing to do is to encourage the wearing of the nose mask when boarding vessels. We are also encouraging wearing of hand gloves when boarding vessels before touching anything because through touching you are likely to contract the disease,” he educated.

He indicated that his outfit will also perform rigorous screening procedures at the port on board vessels.

The Chairman of the Junior Staff Union, Emmanuel Neequaye, encouraged institutions in the port to also provide the necessary logistics to augment protective measures.

“I think that with immediate effect all these protective measures must be put in place and should be quickly supplied to workers to help in the preventive measures of the novel coronavirus,” he advocated.

The various assemblies of workers in the port were also guided on how to perform some hygiene practices.

A booklet with comprehensive information on coronavirus’ prevention was also distributed to each person that participated in the sensitization exercise.