Shama, a fishing community in Ghana’s Western Region with a population of close to 24,000 could possibly become one of the epicenters of an Ebola outbreak in Ghana.
The fishermen of Shama have made several excursion in the last few months to and from Liberia, which is currently reeling under a broken healthcare system due to the current Ebola outbreak.
The fishermen who seem oblivious to the threat of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) epidemic are not being screened by either immigration officials or healthcare professionals upon arrival on the shores of Ghana, after their sojourn in Liberia.
These fishermen who often set out to look for better fishing grounds when Ghana’s waters are seasonally depleted of fish, also transport Ghanaians stranded in Liberia to Ghana to help supplement their fishing income.
They also aid in the transfer of sick patients who are seeking better healthcare from Liberia to Ghana.
Though no case of Ebola has been recorded in Shama, the threat of the disease entering Ghana’s borders from the coastal port is highly plausible.
Officials at the Shama Health Center have intensified public education about the spread of the disease but are overwhelmed by the perceived nonchalance of the fishermen and Ghana’s immigration personnel.
Though Ghana’s Ministry of Health has trained some of the staff at Shama’s Health Center as first responders to an EVD outbreak, it has failed to provide the necessary equipment and specialized personnel to combat an epidemic at the center.
The Shama’s health center has also still not received protective gear against Ebola from the Ghana’s Health Ministry.