Dar es Salaam. Tanzania’s Permanent Secretary at the Health Ministry, Dr Zainabu Chaula, Friday on February 14, 2020, paid a visit to Mutukula-the country’s border with Uganda and inspected the screening of epidemic diseases including Ebola.
The screening exercise was led by the ministry’s health officers in collaboration with the President's Office, Regional Administration and Local Government.
The PS’s move aimed at assessing if the government officers were effectively implementing the outlined preventive measures in combating the epidemic diseases from spreading into the country.
“I would like to re-urge the health officers to strengthen the screening exercise. Efficiency is required during the exercise to ensure that all travellers are screened,” said the PS.
However, Dr Chaula was satisfied with the screening exercise and lauded the health officers for their commitment and hard work.
The neighbouring countries; Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have several times been hit by the Ebola disease which has claimed the lives of people. On 11 June 2019, the Ugandan Ministry of Health confirmed a case of Ebola in Kasese District, Uganda.
The current situation in the DRC, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of 10 February 2020, there are a total of 3431 Ebola cases, of which 3,308 have been confirmed and 123 are probable. At least 2,253 people have died (66 per cent).
Since the Ebola outbreak in the DRC in August 2018, WHO has advised neighbouring countries, including Tanzania, to reinforce their preparedness measures.
Meanwhile, Dr Chaula, during her tour, handed over high-tech screening equipment to the officers to assist them in performing their work more efficiently.
The provision of the equipment is in line with the government’s efforts to strengthen screening for both Ebola and Coronavirus diseases at the country’s ports and borders.
This follows the coronavirus outbreak in China that has so far claimed the lives of over 1000 people and thousands of coronavirus cases have been confirmed.
The outbreak has been declared a global health emergency by the WHO, as it continues to spread outside China. The WHO recently said there had been 98 cases in 18 other countries, but no deaths.
Most international cases are in people who had been to Wuhan in Hubei--the most affected China’s cities.
Due to this, the government has also urged the officers at the border points to strengthen public health education with a view to equipping the public with comprehensive knowledge to combat epidemic diseases.
"I urge the regional health officers and other leaders to strengthen public health education about epidemic diseases particularly in rural areas,” the PS told the officers.