Tanzania: WHO Denies Reporting Ebola Case in Tanzania

MSF medical staff in protective gear (file photo)

Dar es Salaam — The government has held talks with the World Health Organization country representative Dr Tigest Ketsela Mengestu, over reports of Ebola outbreak in the country.

During the talks between deputy minister of Foreign affairs and international cooperation Dr Damas Ndumbaro, Dr Mengestu insisted that WHO has never reported that there was an Ebola outbreak in Tanzania.

"WHO has never or has no evidence that there is Ebola outbreak in Tanzania," said Dr Mengestu in a statement released by the ministry.

She reaffirmed WHO's commitment to continue to collaborate with the government on health issues.

The government summoned WHO country representative following recent speculations that there is Ebola outbreak in the country.

Recently there were unconfirmed reports of the disease, following a death of a woman with Ebola-like symptoms.

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However, the government has since denied that a woman, who died at Temeke Referral Hospital had died of the disease.

In an exclusive interview with The Citizen recently the United States secretary of health, Mr Alex Azar, ahead of his visit to Tanzania said the organization was aware of the death of a woman with ebola-like symptoms.

However, Mr Azar said Tanzania government, which revealed that the samples from the woman, which were taken to the government Chief Chemist was not shared with WHO.

"We call upon the government of Tanzania to comply with the international health regulations and call for transparent disclosure of information and strong cooperation with the international health community" he was quoted as saying in the interview.

However, the government through minister for health MsUmmy Mwalimu allayed fears over such reports.

The woman, a Tanzanian medical doctor, who was studying in Uganda had died of a viral infection akin to the deadly Ebola disease.

Health minister Ummy Mwalimu termed the reports which say six other people had developed Ebola-like symptoms as mere rumours.

She told journalists that there were two cases of people from Mwanza and Dar es Salaam, who had been suspected to have contracted the Ebola virus, but they tested negative.

The minister's assurance, which was issued on September 15, came just a day after WHO said it was investigating, "as a matter of urgency", a 'rumour' of death from an unknown illness in Tanzania. Some embassies also issued alerts over the WHO warning.

There is heightened vigilance across East Africa over Ebola due to an outbreak of the viral disease in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and a reported case in Western Uganda at the border with the DRC.

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