Did you know that no matter where you travel to beyond the shores of the former Gold Coast, you need to carry your yellow card with you before getting to the Kotoka International Airport? It doesn’t matter if you are going to UK or New Zealand. Having travelled just a few months ago in September without this card, I was the least amused to see this new procedure in place. Here is how I know.
I had just joined the first immigration queue (you know, the one before the main immigration queue) to prepare for boarding, and I was glad i could see a health personnel with a heat sensor checking temperatures of passengers for any suspected Ebola symptoms. Then it got to my turn.
‘Where is your yellow fever card?’
My face was blank. ‘My what? I don’t have it on me.’
Brusquely he said, ‘Go down to port health.’ no explanation, just ordered.
I rushed down and found an airport uniformed personnel who directed me to the office for port health. Five people surrounded the tiny entrance to the office and my heart sank. As i joined the queue, I heard a few guys mumbling. On my enquiry it turned out that everyone was paying GHC40 for the card and for those who haven’t had a shot before, got a quick jab.
I didn’t have enough cedis so i rushed out, rushed down, rushed back up to find three people remaining. There was a woman in there and she was painstakingly filling out details into a yellow card. Her painstakingness was a rather ‘exciting’ thing to watch. Then I watched as she grabbed a needle from a container and gave one guy a quick jab. She wasn’t wearing gloves.
As I waited for my turn, a sweat-faced man all dressed up 'Borga' style comes up behind and asks, 'whats the meaning of this yellow card business?' in his best borga slang. I could tell he was on his way to either Amsterdam or Germany.
'Don't talk to me until its your turn,' came the health officials best i-dont-really-care-about-your-frustration tone, without even looking up at him. That got him quiet.
Painful minutes passed and it was my turn. I had already gotten my shot this year so that was waived. I paid the 40cedis and left.
As I got to the same queue, more people were being turned away for not having their yellow cards on them.
My question is this: isn't yellow fever card a proof of vaccination for travellers travelling to a country where the mosquito vector and potential non-human primate hosts of yellow fever are present? So why did I need one although I was going to the United Kingdom where symptoms of malaria sometimes beats some of their doctors and who don't require this proof according to WHO? When I got to the UK, i wasn't asked for proof of this card either. This is just a ploy to take money from Ghanaians was my last conclusion to this action. Unless ther
So if you know you are travelling to even Iceland, please dig out your yellow fever card and staple it to the back of your passport because you will be needing it on every trip.
Why are things done so disorderly and anyhow in this country?