Health & Safety: Ebola in West Africa

by Daniel Alexander

about-ebolaAt Amizade we take all health and safety issues very seriously and continually monitor issues around the world and at our sites. We have provided more than 8,000 safe placements since our 1994 founding in Amazonian Brazil.

Many concerns have risen about Ebola and the news from West Africa. Amizade is closely monitoring the situation in West Africa, specifically in Ghana. Not only are we monitoring things from our office but, one of the benefits of working with an organization like Amizade, is our connections on the ground.  In each of our program sites- including Ghana- we work with community partners, local organizations and individuals on the ground. This includes a Site Director- an Amizade Staff Member from the local community who plans and leads each program.  We utilize not only the news and information coming out of the region, but also the local knowledge of our friends and partners in Ghana to help monitor all health and safety concerns, including the Ebola outbreak.

It is important to note that, to date, there have been no confirmed cases of Ebola in Ghana. At this time the World Health Organization has not issued any travel restrictions to the region or closure of borders.

Right now Ghana is safe and we are running programs there as planned. We will continue to monitor the situation and, if anything changes will will keep you updated and will notify participants if a situation arises where we need to cancel a program.

This is what we know about the situation and the steps being taken to protect both citizens and visitors to Ghana. The government of Ghana will be implementing health preparation measures that are in line with the World Health Organization Ebola response plan for countries at risk.

In statement from from the U.S. Embassy in Ghana, they remind U.S. citizens that Ebola is a “rare but deadly disease. …Acquiring infection is low and can be essentially eliminated by not coming into contact with an ill person’s blood or bodily fluids, sick wildlife, or infected bush meat (especially bats, monkeys and gorillas).”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the following guidelines for international travelers:

  • Practice careful hygiene. Avoid contact with blood and body fluids.
  • Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids.
  • Avoid funeral or burial rituals that require handling the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
  • Avoid contact with bats and nonhuman primates or blood, fluids, and raw meat prepared from these animals.
  • Avoid hospitals where Ebola patients are being treated. The U.S. embassy or consulate is often able to provide advice on facilities.
  • After you return, monitor your health for 21 days and seek medical care immediately if you develop symptoms of Ebola.