Mr Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the Statement ably made by the Chairperson of the Defence and Interior Committee, and to say that I support most of the issues that were raised; except to say there are some suggestions or recommendations which they mentioned, which we need to be careful in trying to implement some of them.
For example, to recommend that an ambulance should be placed at almost all the border posts -- Ghana is not that rich a country; we need to be careful.
What we need to do is to prepare the districts that have those borders to be ready, so that when there are issues of Ebola at the entry points, they could go and pick them into the quarantine centres. But to say we should place ambulances at all the entry points, what it means is that health delivery within is likely to suffer. This is because we do not have too many of them.
I would want to urge that the Ministry of Health should rather be looking at strengthening the various districts that have these entry points, so that they would be in readiness and whenever there are issues, they would be able to go and attend to them.
But Mr Speaker, I have a little different view about what is happening and the way our response to this Ebola, especially in Africa, is. Which is, we are not solving it the African way. We are all trying to close our borders to it. We are all making it tight and that is why the thing has exacerbated and has gone out of hand to this level.
Mr Speaker, when the Ebola issue started sometime last year, if the African Continent had embraced it as an African problem -- What do we do in Africa? We are each other's keeper and this is also an opportunity. Mr Speaker, if you look at what transformed this world, it is the First World War. After the First World War, so many people died but it gave the whole world the opportunity to industrialise because after every challenge, there would be an opportunity.
What is the opportunity that I see here? Almost every country in Africa has a research centre.
We need to be proactive, so that we would be able to open our borders, pay attention to our health system, and take the opportunity to develop our health system. If we close all our borders and are not preparing ourselves to deal with it -- As all our other Hon Colleagues have mentioned, we have porous borders, and if someone is able to infiltrate these porous borders and enters, how do we manage the situation?
That is why I am of the view that, for example, even though Ghana has not recorded any case, we have the headache of closing down all conferences that were supposed to happen in Ghana for three months. In Nigeria, where they had the crisis, when their President had the opportunity at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, he was hammering: “There is no more Ebola in Nigeria, you can come”.
In the United States of America (USA), they had Ebola cases; they are saying that it does not really matter. What matters is that let us identify who has it, let us be able to do what they call contact tracing, let us quarantine, let us treat, let us isolate. You use it to develop your health system;
you do not just shy away from the problem.
When you are a mother and you have so many children and one of them has a communicable disease, do you lock that child in one particular room, so that all of you stay away from that child? That is why Africa needs to be united; we need to come together, work as one continent, seeing one another as each other's keeper. I am because you are, and you are because I am. If we see one another that way, we would be able to deal with it the African way.
We do not have to wait until others fly from outside our continent to come and help us to deal with the matter when we have research centres like Noguchi and the likes.
So, I would want to urge African leaders -- I can see that in the last few months, they are making conscious efforts -- they even met in Accra last week; they should do more and let us open our borders. Let us stop this closing of the borders, in order not to worsen the situation. We should rather open them, strengthen our health system, do the education well, so that even if we identify one, we would be able to notice it and draw the attention of the system to it. As our Hon Colleague said, even there is no protective clothing.
I am aware that the Minister for Health is likely to come sometime this week to brief us on the status of what the Ministry of Health is doing to manage this disease. When they come I believe, all these things may come out. But Africa should handle this crisis in an African way. If we do not and the situation in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone gets out of hand --