Preparedness spurs prompt response to Mali’s first Ebola case
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Bamako, Mali, 24 October 2014 - High alertness and careful planning prepared the Malian authorities to act swiftly to identify, treat and contain the country’s first confirmed case of Ebola, Randgold Resources chief executive Mark Bristow said today. Randgold owns and operates the Morila, Loulo and Gounkoto gold mines in Mali.
Bristow said the company was in close touch with Mali’s national director of health and the regional health director at Kayes, where the case was identified, as well as with the relevant NGOs and the other members of the Ebola Private Sector Mobilisation Group.
“Our information is that the patient, a young girl who had come to Mali from elsewhere in West Africa, started showing Ebola-like symptoms on 21 October. She was immediately referred to the paediatric unit at Kayes hospital, where she was quarantined while the health care workers who were involved in her case were put under observation. Ebola was confirmed on 23 October, by which time contact tracing was already underway. To date, some 50 people have been quarantined and the investigation is continuing. We are assured by the administrators that the situation is under control and we will obviously continue to monitor it closely,” Bristow said.
Long before this case was identified, Randgold itself had mobilised a major campaign to safeguard its employees and host communities against Ebola, he said.
A crisis management team comprising the senior medical officers of all Randgold operations has been appointed to spearhead the campaign. These medical officers are all West Africans and are consequently very familiar with tropical diseases. In addition, the group’s chief medical officer, Dr Haladou Manirou, has joined the Ebola Private Sector Mobilisation Group which is coordinating the private sector’s response.
“Our crisis team meets weekly and is also in constant contact with our host governments, the World Health Organisation and other NGOs who are monitoring the situation to ensure that we are fully up to speed with the state of the epidemic and the measures being taken to contain it,” Bristow says.
“We have integrated our own prevention programme with those of our host countries and equipped all our sites with Ebola PPEs, disinfection kits, mobile isolation units and contactless temperature monitors. We have trained our own medical staff as well as the personnel from the local health centres in the identification and treatment of suspected cases.”
Bristow says awareness is the key to the prevention or early identification of the disease and Randgold is continuing an intensive drive to sensitise its own employees as well as the surrounding communities to the manifestation and treatment of Ebola symptoms through daily face-to-face updates, radio broadcasts and a 24-hour hotline. Heightened awareness will ensure that any suspected cases will be handled quickly and effectively.