WINDHOEK – Dr Michel Kaswa Kayomo, the director of the National Programme against Tuberculosis in the Ministry of Public Health in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) yesterday underscored the importance of Ebola preparedness for all SADC countries.
This is to ensure that SADC countries that are not affected by the disease are not caught off guard should there be an outbreak of Ebola, Kayoma told New Era on the sidelines of the joint meeting of SADC Ministers of Health and Ministers responsible for HIV/AIDS.
“Today it’s DRC, tomorrow we don’t know,” he said. On 1 August this year, the health ministry in the DRC declared a new outbreak of Ebola virus in North Kivu province, eastern DRC.
Ituri province which shares borders with Uganda and South Sudan is also affected by the Ebola outbreak.
As of 5 November 2018, 300 Ebola cases were recorded, of which 265 are laboratory confirmed. So far, 151 deaths resulting from Ebola were recorded. Further, 88 were cured from the disease, Kayomo said. The North Kivu and Ituri provinces are affected by the disease, Kayoma said.
Ebola is a rare and deadly disease spread by direct contact with blood or body fluids of a person infected with Ebola virus. It is also spread by contact with a contaminated object or infected animal.
In order to address the outbreak, all Ebola suspected cases should be diagnosed, the community should be sensitised about the disease, and there should be free healthcare access to all people. In fact, in the affected regions, healthcare is free for all, Kayoma explained.
“All contacts at risk of the disease such as health officials working with Ebola-affected people and people who have had contact with the affected people should be vaccinated,” he added.
Kayoma also stressed the importance of having effective surveillance systems in place in order to reduce the chances of the disease spreading to other provinces and regions. “Government through the health ministry has put in place preparedness mechanisms and we are well prepared,” he added. He attributed the frequent outbreaks of Ebola in DRC to the re-emergence of diseases.
“We never know where next there will be an outbreak of the disease,” he said.
2018-11-09 09:07:11 9 months ago