A Research Fellow at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Dr. Kofi Bonney, has said not all hand sanitizers on the market could be used as precautionary measures against the transmission of the Ebola Viral Disease (EVD).
He said there were two types of hand sanitizers; one that has the potency to kill only bacteria and another purposely for virus and advised the public to be cautious of the type of sanitizers to buy.
The advice was in response to a question on the efficacy of hand sanitizers as precautionary measures against EVD at a ï¿½round tableï¿½ discussion on EVD and cholera organized by the Faculty of Arts of the University of Cape Coast on Tuesday.
The outbreak of the EVD in West Africa has increased the use of hand sanitizers for disinfection of the hands especially by people who cannot completely avoid handshakes as advised by health practitioners.
ï¿½If you are taking precautions against a viral disease and you buy an anti-bacterial hand sanitizer, it wonï¿½t help youï¿½ Read the label to know the exact gem it is talking about and buy one that takes care of virusï¿½, he said.
Dr. Bonney, who is also a member of the Viral Hemorrhagic Team, said 7,470 suspected cases of the disease have so far been investigated and as of October 4, 3,431 representing 45.9 percent had died.
He said about 90 percent of suspected Ebola cases investigated at the institute did not meet the strict case definition of the disease and dispelled rumors of attempts by health personnel to cover the existence of the disease.
He advised the public to adhere to precautionary messages and not undermine the reality of the deadly disease.
The discussion dubbed ï¿½Deadly diseases of our time: Ebola and Cholera- Myths, Facts and realitiesï¿½ was the main feature of the facultyï¿½s Round Table Series, a platform created once every semester for knowledgeable individuals from different academic, professional, social and political backgrounds to discuss topical national and international issues that affected humanities.
This semesterï¿½s edition featured microbiologists, sociologists, human rights researchers, research fellows and other related experts.
The Dean of the Faculty, Prof. Dora Edu Buandoh described the platform as a very useful opportunity for the faculty to reach the university community as well as the general public to inform and educate them on very important issues.
Dr. Mrs. Dorcas Obiri-Yeboah, a Micro biologist and Head of the Microbiology Department of UCC stressed the need to remain vigilant whiles not panicking at the outbreak of Ebola in some West African countries.
Dr Obiri-Yeboah advised the public to report any health issue they were unsure of to health facilities for the necessary screening to be done by the trained personnel.
On cholera she queried why an increasing number of people were dying in the country in the 21st century from a disease which was easy to diagnose and manage.
Dr. Mrs. Obiri Yeboah expressed worry that the public seemed to be giving the bacteria that causes the disease a permanent home by continuing to surround themselves with filth.
She advised the public to be wary of the water they drink, avoid eating cold meals and keep clean environment and to promptly report to the nearest hospital in case of infection for the necessary test to be carried out.
Rev Fr. Dr. Isidore Bonabom, Human Rights Researcher, Faculty of Law, UCC, stated that there were laws in the country which, when enforced, would help prevent the outbreak of cholera and that the preparation and sale of food under insanitary conditions was an offense.
He said it was important to enforce the laws to curtail the annual outbreak of cholera.
Dr. Kwaku KariKari, Deputy Central Regional Director of Public Health Services, described the outbreak of cholera in the country as a disgrace and a sign of lack of civilization.
According to him some years back, the disease was a periodic one, but now it has become an annual outbreak which and called on assemblies to enforce the bye- laws on sanitation.
He said the directorate was doing its part by giving health promotion education, put in place an emergency preparedness and surveillance system to track disease and called on the general public to heed to their advice and help in the management of the disease.
Other speakers who took turns to address the audience were Dr. Raphael Avoryo, a sociologist and researcher at the Department of Sociology, UCC and Prof. Peter Grant, a researcher in Classical history at UCC, who traced EVD to some plagues in history.
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