UTM Party president Saulos Chilima has called for robust response to ebola emergency following World Health Organisation (WHO) that the deadly disease has hit neighbouring Tanzania.
Chilima: There is need for a clear, comprehensive and robust preparedness and response plan
Chilima, the immediate past Republican vice-president who served in the Peter Mutharika administration as minister responsible for disaster management, said the robust response would ensure that the disease does not become a crisis.
"We, therefore, urge the ministry of Health and all appropriate agencies to do the needful and swiftly come up with a clear, comprehensive and robust preparedness and response plan to this emergency so that it does not become a potential crisis.
"That plan must be extensively and clearly communicated too," says Chilima.
Chilima says ebola is a potentially catastrophic threat to the nation not only because it has persisted for some time in the region, it is highly contagious with devastating mortality.
He said the Malawi borders in the region are intertwined, saying the trading links are brisk and that there is high mobility as globalization escalates.
Government has told Malawians to remain calm, advising interstate traders to seek medication attention at a health facility whenever they feel fever to make earliest detection of the deadly ebola disease.
Spokesperson for the ministry of Health and Population Joshua Malango said this as World Health Organisation (WHO) is putting pressure on Tanzania to confirm three cases of ebola in that country which has claimed one life so far.
"We know there are talks going on between WHO and the government of the Republic of Tanzania on the issue.
"But here in Malawi we are following strict health measures to ensure that we do not get the disease," said Malango.
He said people should not just be rushing to buy pain killers whenever they feel fever but go for ebola tests as well.
Malawians were shocked to learn on Sunday that Tanzania has recorded one death and two other people are sick with ebola, a situation which puts Malawi at risk of getting the deadly disease.
WHO has rebuked Tanzania for failing to provide information about the possible ebola virus infections.
The WHO says it had learnt of one suspected fatal case in Dar-es-Salaam and two others but, despite repeated requests, was given no information.
Most Malawian traders go to Tanzania for trade and get vehicles just as Tanzanias come to Malawi for trade and other errands.
Malawi authorities say there is no cause for alarm, saying all people in cross border journeys are screened of the disease.
WHO says the patient who died had been to Uganda, shown symptoms of ebola in August, tested positive and died on September 8, 2019.
WHO says the woman's contacts had been guaranteed.
"The limited available official information represents a challenge for assessing the risk posed by this event," says WHO.
But Tanzania says there was no confirmed or suspected cases of ebola in the country.