State signs SI on Ebola

GOVERNMENT has signed a Statutory Instrument (SI) that will compel health workers to report any suspected case of Ebola to relevant authorities.
Deputy Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya says the SI identifying Ebola as a notifiable disease in the country was signed on Tuesday by Minister of Health Joseph Kasonde.
And the World Health Organisation (WHO) has commended Government for demonstrating commitment and good leadership by putting in place effective measures to contain Ebola in case it breaks out in Zambia.
WHO acting country representative Jean-Marie Dandou said this in Lusaka yesterday when the global health organisation donated assorted Ebola preparedness supplies valued at US$50,000 to the Ministry of Health.
Dr Dangou said the actions taken by Government to prevent Ebola are in accordance with international health regulations on cross border disease control.
Dr Dangou said as of August 25, 2,635 cases of Ebola have been recorded in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria out of which  1,439 deaths have been reported.
“Between August 19 and 20, a total of 142 new cases and 77 deaths were reported,” Dr Dangou said.
He said the disease is the deadliest in history.
Dr Dangou said latest statistics also indicate that a total of 240 health workers have contracted the disease in the four West African countries  out of which 120 have died.
“The possible consequences of further international spread are particularly serious in view of the virulence of the virus,” he said.
Dr Dangou said it is important for Zambia to have preventive and response measures in place despite the country not recording an outbreak of Ebola so far to protect the public and health workers.
He said the health care system must be prepared to detect, investigate and manage Ebola cases.
Dr Dangou said in the event of an outbreak, it is essential for Zambia to have adequate medical supplies.
He said WHO remains committed to supporting Government’s efforts in implementing preparedness and response activities at various levels.
Among the items donated are personal protective equipment, ethanol, hand sprayers and biohazards bags.
And Dr Chilufya thanked WHO for partnering with Government in Ebola response preparedness in case of an outbreak of the disease in Zambia.
He said the donation by WHO will go a long way in strengthening response to any case of Ebola.
“As Government, we have raised alertness in all parts of the country,” Dr Chilufya said.