Nam Donates to Ebola Fight

CABINET has approved the request to contribute N$11 million to support the West African countries that are affected by the Ebola virus outbreak.

Permanent secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology Mbeuta Ua-Ndjarakana said this yesterday.

He said the contribution will be made available through the World Health Organisation to the African Public Health Emergency fund for the containment of the outbreak.

“Namibia is heeding the call made by the African Union to its member states and the international community to make contributions in cash or kind in this fight against the Ebola outbreak in some west African countries,” said Ua-Ndjarakana.

It was reported that the WHO would need N$6,6 billion to bring the outbreak under control, hence the need to send teams of health workers and other specialists to these countries.

On the other hand, Namibian epidemiologist Clementine Muroua says due to the fact that the health ministry previously managed cases of viral haemorrhagic fever successfully, it will be able to manage the Ebola virus, if an outbreak occurs.

Muroua said such cases included Dengue Fever which originated from Angola and was treated at the Windhoek Central Hospital in June this year.

She further gave an example of the Congo-Crimean haemorrhagic fever, which broke out in Rehoboth and Gobabis.

She also echoed the sentiments of health minister Richard Kamwi and assured the nation that the country was prepared to handle Ebola, should it strike.

So far the health ministry has set aside a ward at the Windhoek Central Hospital for the treatment in isolation of anyone with contagious diseases such as Ebola.

The ministry also received a donation of six fever-guns from the World Health Organisation to screen new arrivals for high temperature, which is one of the signs of the presence of the virus.

Muroua said they have also stationed health officials at the Hosea Kutako International Airport to receive surveillance forms to monitor temperature for all passengers, using infra-red thermometers.

“Detailed screening forms were developed for passengers coming from Ebola-affected countries,” she said.

Muroua said all necessary precautions are in place, adding that vigilance is important but there was no reason to panic.

“The Windhoek Central Hospital isolation unit can treat and manage viral haemorrhagic fever successfully. Active communication and collaboration between stakeholders is key,” she concluded.

Kamwi aised Namibians last month not to travel to Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone, countries known to have been hit by the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus since March this year which has killed more than 2 000 people.

He said those travelling to the affected countries for mass gatherings like religious and sporting events and conferences will put Namibia at risk of getting the infection and spreading the disease.

Source : The Namibian