The Ministry of Health has cautioned stakeholders in Livingstone to be on high alert for the Ebola Viral disease following an outbreak in West Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Ministry of Health Deputy Director- Environment, Occupational Health and Safety, Mulonda Mate, said Livingstone’s vulnerability to an outbreak of the disease was as high as 90 per cent going by its status as the tourist capital.
“We have only had one real case in Zambia and one scare but the vulnerability for Livingstone is as high as 90 per cent due to its status as the tourist capital and the influx of travellers it receives from different parts of the world,” he said.
Mr Mate said this in Livingstone yesterday during a stakeholders meeting to discuss preventive and procedural measures to take against the disease in case of an outbreak.
He said the Ebola Viral disease was lethal and left most health workers at risk as the majority of them who handled patients died.
Mr Mate, however, said Zambia was on course with buying protective clothing for health personnel.
And Southern Province Medical Officer, Jelita Chinyonga, said Ebola was a major concern and stressed the need to strengthen public health surveillance in the province.
Dr Chinyonga said it was imperative for all stakeholders in the province, especially those in the hospitality industry, to strategise on the line of action to take in case the disease broke out.
She was represented at the meeting by Provincial Chief Environmental Health Officer, Emmanuel Kooma.
Meanwhile, Lusaka Province Medical Officer, Meetwell Cheelo, described Ebola as a highly contagious disease which was transmitted from human to human and direct contact with body fluids such as saliva and blood.
Mr Cheelo said personnel at all entry points to the country needed to be sensitised for them to appreciate the need to isolate suspected Ebola patients due to its contagious nature.
The Livingstone Tourism Association, media, Immigration Department, Livingstone City Council and other stakeholders in the tourist capital have pledged to collaborate with the Ministry of Health in its quest to prevent the Ebola viral disease from entering Zambia.