Zambia declares Ebola “notifiable disease”, signs a statutory instrument

Ebola rumours run wild in Ivory Coast
Ebola rumours run wild in Ivory Coast

The Zambian government has signed a statutory instrument that compels health workers to notify authorities of any Ebola suspects, a senior official said on Wednesday.

Minister of Health Joseph Kasonde signed the statutory instrument on Tuesday August 27, directing all health workers to notify government of any suspected Ebola cases.

Deputy Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya said when he received Ebola preparedness supplies from the World Health Organization (WHO) worth 50,000 U.S. dollars in Lusaka, the Zambian capital that the statutory instrument signed under the country’s Health Public Act, was part of measures embarked on by the government against any possible Ebola outbreaks.

The official expressed worry over reports that Ebola cases in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo have continued increasing hence the need for improved surveillance measures in Zambia.

He said that Zambia will strengthen surveillance systems at the DRC border to prevent any possible outbreak of the deadly disease, adding that government was aware that Ebola has now become Africa’ s huge health threat.

There are reports that the number of Ebola cases in neighboring DRC have increased to 24 from the initial two on Monday.

Authorities in the border town of Chililabombwe on the Copperbelt Province have stepped up screening measures at Kasumbalesa, the country’s busiest border entry with the DRC, with people crossing into Zambia being screened while those heading into the DRC were being sensitized on Ebola.

Fighting the disease, he said, requires concerted efforts and stronger partnerships among countries in the region.

Olusegun Babaniyi, the WHO representative in Zambia said it was important for Zambia to be prepared for any possible Ebola outbreak.

Ebola, which spread out in West Africa this year, has so far affected more than 2,600 people and killed about 1,427, according to WHO figures released last Friday.

Source : LUSAKA, Aug. 27 (Xinhua)