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      DECISIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF MINISTERS OF HEALTH OF ECOWAS COUNTRIES

 The Health Ministers of ECOWAS Member States met on August 28 at the MIKLIN Hotel in Accra. After considering the Experts’ report on the current outbreak of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic in West Africa:

  • Expressed deep concern about the challenge posed by the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus disease epidemic in the ECOWAS region.
  • Expressed solidarity to the ECOWAS member countries whose populations are being hard hit by the disease.
  • Noted that to date, 3069 and 1552 deaths have been recorded and several people continue to fall victim to the disease which is a threat to public health for all countries in the ECOWAS.
  • Recognized the negative impact of the disease on economy, security and the social fabric of ECOWAS Member States.

 In the light of this alarming situation, the Health Ministers recognized that the sole aim is still to stop the transmission of the disease through regional solidarity, resource mobilization and harmonization of strategies.

 The Ministers therefore decide to:

  1. Assist affected countries through :
    1. Mobilization and deployment of human resources by providing health personnel tothe affected countries.
    2. Provision of materials and equipment.
    3. Strengthening epidemiological surveillance:
      1. At entry and exit points.

-          Design of a health records card

-          Temperature checks

-          Use of hand sanitizers

-          Handling of bodies

  1. Identification of suspected cases and contacts persons as well as their management (prohibition of movement within and outside countries).
  2. Information sharing between countries.
  3. Strengthening of health facilities at country level through training and establishment of isolation centres.
  4. Clear and consistent messages should be disseminated to the populations.
  5. Provide financial support and encourage research and medical schools to actively contribute to global efforts in the quest for solutions, remedies and therapies with a view to preventing and controlling Ebola virus disease and other life threatening conditions.
  6. Put in place a regional monitoring mechanisms such as:
    1. Ministerial coordination Group 
  • Chair: Minister of Health of Ghana
  • Members: Ministers of Health of affected countries
  • Secretariat: ECOWAS / WAHO 
  1. Technical Surveillance Group
  • WAHO
  • Nigeria CDC
  • WHO/Afro
  • Country Experts of the ministerial coordination group
  • Secretariat: ECOWAS / WAHO
  1. The ECOWAS Assembly of Health Ministers call on the population not to panic because is only transmitted through direct contact with body liquids of patients or through the handling and consumption of bush meat.
  2. The assembly of Health Ministers call on airline companies to continue with their usual flight schedules within West Africa subject to such health measures as may be agreed with WAHO.
  3. WAHO should submit a proposal within seven days to the Adhoc Ministerial committee for the implementation of these recommendations.

Recommendations to Heads of State and Government

  1. Establish humanitarian, health and economic corridors with affected countries.
  2. Assess travel restriction measures and border closures in the light of WHO recommendations; open borders with checks should be the rule and closure the exception.
  3. Where borders need to be closed for exceptional reasons, there should be consultation among member countries and the views of WAHO and WHO should be sought.
  4. Quickly make their contributions to the ECOWAS solidarity fund for disease control and call on the international community as well as the private sector to contribute.

 

Done in Accra on 28th, August 2014

  For The Assembly of Health Ministers of ECOWAS

 Chair, Assembly of Health Ministers.

Dr. Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah

 Minister of Health, Ghana.

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