WINDHOEK - The Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Richard Kamwi, says Namibia does not fall in the category of high risk countries for transmission of the Ebola virus that has killed over 1 000 people in its latest outbreak.
At a press briefing on Monday Kamwi said the health ministry has been keeping abreast of developments with respect to the latest outbreak in West Africa, through periodic updates issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
As from February 2014 Ebola was reported in West Africa where it has killed hundreds.
The disease has spread from Guinea to neighbouring countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone and most recently Nigeria.
Confirmed cases of Ebola are 1 201 while the number of people suspected to be infected stands at 1 848 across West Africa, the epicentre of the latest outbreak.
Roughly two in three people infected with Ebola have died because of its high fatality rate.
“Surveillance at our points of entry such as Hosea Kutako International Airport, Walvis Bay port and the Oshivelo border post is already in place and we will be continuing with training and sensitisation of our health workers, as part of measures to increase our vigilance and preparedness for this disease,” he said.
Furthermore, the ministry has reserved a ward at the Windhoek Central Hospital in case Ebola breaks out in Namibia.
He noted Ebola is a very serious illness as evidenced by the rapid spread in West Africa and the over 50 percent death rate of infected persons, including many health care workers that were in contact with patients.
Kamwi said the virus is transmitted through direct contact with blood, for example through broken skin, other bodily fluids or secretion, such as stool, saliva, urine and semen of infected persons.
Infection could also occur if broken skin comes in contact with environments that have become contaminated with an Ebola patient’s infectious fluids, such as soiled clothing, bed linen or used needles.
Kamwi further advised people to avoid big gatherings at funerals.
Meanwhile, last week SADC ministers of health gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa and recommended that member states mobilise relevant government sectors and community, religious and political leaders to work together.
This collaboration could increase awareness and understanding of the Ebola outbreak by communities to ensure optimum preparedness and response, they stated.
Other recommendations were to identify and commit additional domestic financial resources to support the outbreak preparedness,organise cross-border consultations to facilitate exchange of information and agree on joint collaborative actions, among others.
By Kuzeeko Tjitemisa
New Era Reporter
2014-08-13 08:35:43 4 years ago