Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity.
I would first and foremost, commend your Committee for a good work done and also reiterate the point that, it was a concern to all of us as a people.
Of course, the kind of information that we had through the media also contributed in heightening the tension with the research, if you like, that was supposed to be done.
Mr Speaker, I am wondering whether, if people were properly informed, Ghanaians would have accepted that such a thing be done in this country, considering the fact that. Ebola was so scary that people felt it was even better for one to have the Human Immuno Deficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrom (AIDs) than to have Ebola. People felt it was better to contract some of the deadliest diseases than to have Ebola. This is because the conclusion of everybody in this country, rightly or wrongly, was the moment a
person gets Ebola, his or her chances of survival is probably ten to ninety per cent.
However, going forward, Mr Speaker, have we learnt from what we had experienced, not just as a people in this country but as a continent and most importantly, a sub-region? Those of us who travelled at that time, every single person, from West Africa was a suspect. In some circumstances, we were given treatments that were extremely de- humanising; we needed to go through a lot of scrutiny because people were not too sure whether we had Ebola.
At that time, it was apparent that, not every country in West Africa had Ebola cases. In Ghana, for instance, we never had the disease but every single person from West Africa was subjected to that particular scrutiny. I think we need to begin learning from that experience.
That was not the first time we had Ebola in West Africa. We have had cases of Ebola in the past, but at least, the number of countries who, hitherto, were not affected by this Ebola crisis, were victims this time round. Mr Speaker, the question I ask is that, do we know the countries that can be affected should we in the most unlikely event have it again?
I think that is why we needed to have considered it as a challenge, not just for the sub-region but for the continent of Africa. I say this because people lost their lives through this but for our brothers and sisters who, unfortunately, were also affected either from Europe or America, the chances of survival was huge.
Someone could be affected; they flew the person to Europe or to America and within the next two weeks or one month, you would hear that person was cured.
It boils down to the fact that, we did not have the capacity as a sub-region to confront those problems and find so- lutions to them. Our research institutions have the capacity to do that. My challenge to everybody, particularly to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is that, we should be working towards finding solutions, so that any time we experience things like that, we would not have this response that we have had in the past.
This is because this thing had affected us, not just the human beings but it affected the economies of those countries.
I listened to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) about three days ago and what Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah said is absolutely true.The people of Sierra Leone were not just dancing but they were recounting the effects of Ebola on their economies. People who had beaches and hotels and tourism on the whole, were hugely affected. Now, if we had Ebola, may God forbid, in another country and if Ghana is not affected, it would still affect our tourism industry.
A lot of tourists were advised in Europe and America not to travel to West Africa because there was the misconception that Ebola had affected countries in West Africa. It did not matter that Ghana was affected; as long as there was Ebola in Liberia and Guinea, the chances of Ebola spreading to Ghana or Nigeria was also very high. We need to begin learning and putting the necessary mechanisms in place, particularly, our research institutions and those who are tasked with the responsibility to manage our health and that human security the Hon Member talked about. So that anytime we experience such a thing, we can have quick and faster responses in finding solutions to them.