Law-enforcement agencies to receive training on Ebola

WINDHOEK; Plans are underway to include law- enforcement agencies in the Ministry of Health and Social Services’ Ebola preparedness training.

The chairperson of the National Health Emergency Management Committee in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Dr Jack Vries told Nampa on Tuesday that discussions are ongoing to include Namibian Police Force (NamPol) officers, members of the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) and other relevant stakeholders in the training programme.

He said the committee meets every Thursday to share ideas and prepare the country for any possible Ebola outbreaks.

“We are now busy with health workers countrywide, and we are in the process of including the law- enforcement agencies,” Vries noted.

More than 200 health workers from the Kunene, Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshana, Oshikoto, Omaheke and Zambezi regions are currently receiving the training.

The training team is currently in the Otjozondjupa Region, and it will be extended to the Erongo, //Karas and Hardap Regions in the next two weeks.

Vries said many staff members of private hospitals are also actively involved in the training.

A decision was taken during the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Health ministers’ emergency meeting on the Ebola virus held in Johannesburg, South Africa in August that SADC member states should train health workers in aspects of Ebola response in order to address the prevention and control of the deadly virus.

The meeting also decided to mobilise relevant government sectors and community, religious and political leaders to work together to increase awareness and understanding of the Ebola situation in order to ensure optimum preparedness and response.

The meeting further delegated the SADC member states to identify and commit additional domestic financial resources to support outbreak preparedness; organise cross-border consultations to facilitate exchange of information; and agree on joint collaborative actions.

The Ebola virus has killed over 3 000 people since it broke out in January this year in west Africa.

Outbreaks have been reported in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

The infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, bodily fluids and the tissues of infected animals or people.

Symptoms of the Ebola virus include nausea; loss of appetite; diarrhoea and vomiting with or without blood; skin rashes; abdominal pain; hiccups; cough; chest pain; and difficulty breathing.

It is spread through contact with an affected person or animal’s bodily fluids such as blood and sweat.