April 7 was World Health Day commemorated with a focus on food safety. However, in Guinea-Bissau the prevention against Ebola is still at the center of the health authorities’ concerns, as well of the UN agencies who are dealing with this issue - WHO and UNICEF- , and other civil society organizations.
WHO Country Representative in Guinea-Bissau, Dr. Ayigan Kossi believes that the partners supporting the Ministry of Health and the government are doing everything necessary to prevent Ebola from reaching Guinea-Bissau.
“The main action taken was to control the borders, I think this had great success, since until today not a single case was registered in the country, however we must prepare the country’s structures to be able to respond in case there is an infection”, said Dr. Ayigan. Umaru Bá, health specialist at UNICEF, warned that we must not low down the guard. “Otherwise we could lose the game in the last minute.”
Tony Lutug, National coordinator of the Project for Ebola and Cholera Awareness and prevention program of the Bissau-Guinean Red Cross is also worried that the country is lowering the guard: “It’s true, today if we passed at publics institutions, at public spaces, schools, where months ago we used to see buckets with bleach, people used to wash hands, but today they left this practice, what’s worrying.”
“As long as it is not yet declared end of epidemic in Guinea-Conakry and in the affected countries at this moment, we should not drop those protocols”, warned the National Red Cross official.
Eva Silva, director of the national Hospital Simão Mendes recognized that the preventions measures taken in beginning were stronger than now. But she explains that the health institutions are responding.
“When we found out that the preventions measures were not being followed properly, we tried to reactivate.