Health authorities in Katavi and Rukwa Regions in Tanzania have said that they are well prepared to deal with ebola cases.
Briefing reporters over the weekend Katavi Regional Medical Officer (DMO), Yahaya Hussein said that although there are no reported Ebola cases in the country, they have put in place all measures required to fight the deadly disease, which has been reported in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with at least two deaths and a further 29 suspected cases.
The RMO said that the authorities have trained medical professionals on how to deal with the disease if it gets into the area.
Two camps have been set up in Ikola ward, Tanganyika District, and another at a health centre in Mpanda Municipality, the headquarters of Katavi Region.
“We have also put in place medical facilities, labs and a vehicle for transporting blood samples and patients who will be diagnosed with the disease," he said, adding that authorities in Tanganyika District have empowered local people living along the shores of Lake Tanganyika with a better understanding of the disease.
“There are no cases being registered so far in Tanzania, but we are alert, the outbreak of the disease is in neighbouring DRC,” said Anselmo Kapandila, Nkasi District Medical Official (DMO) in Rukwa Region.“In collaboration with security organs, we’re monitoring passengers at the border and those crossing Lake Tanganyika. It is a very hectic task, as the current interaction between Tanzanians and Congolese has been a threat to the spread of the disease.”
“But with the cooperation with citizenry we’ll win the battle,” Kapandila said over the phone.Other measures according to the official include; sensitising the public on the disease and the precautions needed to fight the disease, which is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people.
“We are currently discouraging interaction with the central African nation, it is not safe; until when things become normal.”
We’re also reinforcing communication systems so that a person with early symptoms of the disease can be diagnosed and put under control.”
“We train them, especially those who work in the blood bank or have to take blood samples from patients, on how to handle it without risks,” he noted.
Nkasi District Commissioner, Said Mohamed Mtanda, said there are special heath facilities designated for persons who will be diagnosed with Ebola symptoms.
“We are also working with local government leaders who are required to be vigilant with the disease in their respective areas,” Mtanda said.
On May 15, this year, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Mpoki Ulisubisya said the government dispatched a team of medical experts in six regions in an effort to improve detection and information systems against the outbreak of Ebola.
The government’s move came after World Health Organisation (WHO) declared an outbreak of Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) , killing at least three people and six still under treatment.
The medical experts were dispatched in Mwanza, Kagera, Kigoma, Katavi, Rukwa and Songwe regions."We chosen the five regions because they are in a great threat since the suspected people with Ebola can penetrate if precaution were not taken,” the official said
He also said other entry points which are under surveillance include all international and mini airports, Kigoma port in Lake Tanganyika, Rusumo, Kabanga and Mtukula borders in Kagera Region.
Ulisubisya said that in all entry points passengers moving across the border from DRC, must undergo thermal screen to see if they had been affected with Ebola virus.
Among measures, the official said the government had modified its national laboratories of Mbeya and Dar es Salaam to test blood samples.
Ebola virus disease (formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever) is a severe, often fatal illness, with a case fatality rate of up to 90 percent. It is one of the world’s most virulent disease, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) website.