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Ebola outbreak: Stop all handshakes – Second Lady tells Chiefs, Churches

Second Lady Matilda Amissah-Arthur has told Ghanaians to stop handshakes as part of efforts to avert entry of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease into Ghana.

Speaking to the people of Dzodze in the Volta region, where she donated items to the EP Basic Schools and the St Anthony Hospital on Friday, the Second Lady said the Ebola virus has made it necessary that Ghanaians amend their traditions and ways of socialising so as to keep safe.

“All our pleading is that – we still want to respect tradition, we still know that our traditions are there but because of the Cholera, Ebola, and other things that we have – let’s start practising some of these things so that – God forbid – when it hits us, we know what to do”, she advised.

“God has been so kind to us Ebola hasn’t come to Ghana. We are very grateful to God, but I just want to encourage that we shouldn’t sit down for it to come before we start doing certain things that we should do. In our own small way, we can begin to keep our environments clean, we can begin to just do simple hygiene, and so from today onwards, people of Dzodze please don’t greet. [If] you go to a gathering, whether it’s funeral or church, don’t greet. Reverend Minister, your church, please don’t let them hold hands and greet. When it comes to sharing of the grace or peace, let them wave and share the peace. Communion: Rev Minister if you are still holding the bread and giving them, please stop. Find ways around it so it becomes more hygienic”, she told the gathering.

To the Chiefs and Queen mothers, she said: “Please when people come to you, set the example, let them know that you have reached there, you know that you shouldn’t greet. So set the example and shame them. Let them know that you are in Dzodze, but you also know about all the things that are coming and how to prevent some of these things”.

As far as the schools are concerned, the Second Lady advised that: “Teachers, don’t force the children to greet and shake hands. They can greet by simply saluting, or the girls bending. The hand shaking should stop. That is where we pass on one thing to the other”.

Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with infected persons as well as through the consumption of infected bush meat: fruit-eating bats, antelopes and monkeys.

The number of cases in the Ebola outbreak has exceeded 10,000, with 4,922 deaths, the World Health Organization says in its latest report.

Only 27 of the cases have occurred outside the three worst-hit countries, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Those three countries account for all but 10 of the fatalities.

Mali became the latest nation to record a death, a two-year-old girl. More than 40 people known to have come into contact with her have been quarantined.

The latest WHO situation report says that Liberia remains the worst affected country, with 4,665 deaths. Sierra Leone has had 3,896 fatalities and there have been 1,553 in Guinea.

Source: Ghana/

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