The Herald (Harare)

6 August 2014

Zimbabwe: Govt Commences Ebola Specialists Training

Photo: Boakai Fofana/AllAfrica
An Ebola sensitization banner in front of the Monrovia City Corporation in Liberia.

Government has started training of health personnel specialists to enable them to identify, contain and respond to the deadly Ebola virus as efforts to tighten preventive measures intensify.Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr Paul Chimedza said the training started yesterday and is aimed at strengthening the country's prevention strategies towards the outbreak that has so far been labelled as the deadliest in the world.

"We are doing all we can to ensure that our people are safe from the virus,"he said. "We have since re-activated rapid response teams to man all exit and entry points. As we speak, there is a training on Ebola which started today (yesterday), all in an effort to prevent the virus from affecting our citizens."

Dr Chimedza said Zimbabwe was prepared to combat the virus should it find its way into the country.

World Health Organisation representative in Zimbabwe Dr David Okello said although chances of the disease coming to Zimbabwe were slim, it was necessary for the country to remain alert.

He said WHO had since advised the Government to put in place a surveillance system at points of exit and entry, raise awareness with travellers on the signs and symptoms of the disease and create a central point where those diagnosed could be taken, should there be any diagnosis.

Dr Okello said Zimbabweans should not panic about Ebola because it can only transmit through contact with bodily fluids.

He said anyone feeling sick after visiting the affected West African countries such as Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria in the first three weeks should immediately seek medical assistance.

"People should not panic because Ebola is preventable,"said Dr Okello. "It can only transmit to the other person through contact with bodily fluids."

Ebola kills up to 90 percent of those infected, but patients have a better chance of survival if they receive early treatment.

The current outbreak was first reported in Guinea in February, but the virus has since spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

So far, a total of 1 323 suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola have been recorded, with 729 deaths.

Symptoms of Ebola include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage, but supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery.

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