–Southern Province Permanent Secretary, Anne Sinyangwe, has implored all stakeholders in the province to help the government in its efforts to raise awareness on the dangers of the deadly Ebola disease in order to effectively prevent any possible outbreak.
In a speech read on her behalf by Provincial Administrative Officer, Jeramu Zulu, during a sensitisation meeting held at Adastra Secondary School in Choma today, Ms Sinyangwe noted that efforts aimed at preventing any outbreak of Ebola should not be left to government alone, adding that all Zambians need to join government’s efforts to ensure the disease does not break out in the country.
The deadly Ebola disease broke out in several West African countries and recently in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) the disease has so far claimed more than 1900 lives in the affected countries.
However, according to the Ministry of Health, Zambia has so far not recorded any Ebola outbreak.
Ms Sinyangwe pointed out that it was important for information on Ebola to reach all areas in the province and urged the media to play their crucial role on informing the public on the disease.
“All of us need to be proactive in disseminating information on Ebola to all parts of the province so that we can prevent any possible outbreak of the deadly disease,” said Ms Sinyangwe.
“The media should also play their vital role of disseminating messages on Ebola throughout the country,” she added.
Some participants who attended the meeting urged the government to intensify sensitisation efforts to all parts of the country and through measure such as bill boards at strategic points just like that done on HIV/AIDS for all people to be fully aware of the disease.
They also implored the government to consider decongesting places like schools, health centres and other public places as an effective way of preventing any possible outbreak.
Some of the resolutions made included the need for the government to ban the movement of livestock for sale to the DRC by some traders as well as setting up a provincial toll-free number for people to report any suspected case of Ebola.
And Provincial Medical Officer, Jelita Chinyonga, said a number of preparations for any possible outbreak of Ebola have been done including the continuous screening of people coming in and going out of the country at main entry points in Siavonga, Livingstone, Kazungula, the on-going sensitisation programmes of both stakeholders and health staff and sensitisation of people through radio.
Public Health Research Analyst, Emmanuel Kooma, also emphasised that Zambia was at high risk due to a number of factors including the influx of tourists and it was a transit point, adding that
sensitisation efforts should, therefore, be taken seriously by both the government and stakeholders.
The first case of Ebola was recorded in DRC in 1976 and is presently known to be transmitted through bodily fluids, saliva, vomit, sweat and direct contact with infected blood among other ways and sadly according to the WHO the disease has no specific treatment.