Paidamoyo Chipunza in Victoria Falls—
Sadc Health Ministers are meeting here to deliberate on how best to respond to the deadly Ebola outbreak following confirmed cases of the virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Chairperson of the Sadc Health Ministers Forum, who is also Zimbabwe’s Minister of Health and Child Care Dr David Parirenyatwa, said the emergency meeting was meant to take stock of how countries were managing the Ebola outbreak.
Dr Parirenyatwa said the two-day meeting was also expected to see the harmonisation of issues such as travel, control of borders, screening procedures among others.
“The only country that has Ebola within Sadc is DRC, so we want to see how we can harmonise some of the issues that have come up especially issues of travel, the control and management of borders in view of the trade relations that are there.
“We would also like to see what routine we should use at our ports in the screening of travellers,” Dr Parirenyatwa said.
He said the meeting would also provide a platform for sharing ideas on preparedness in areas of diagnosis, laboratory skills, medicines and supportive treatments that could be available.
“We would like to see how we can manage long distant truck drivers in the region. We would like to see what preparedness we have that we can share in terms of diagnosis, laboratory skills, medicines and supportive therapies. If they are there, we want to see how we can manage that,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.
He said although challenges of resources always existed, the region had an advantage of learning from experiences from other countries.
Dr Parirenyatwa said Sadc had a forewarning, hence strengthening of preparedness should the virus finds its way into the region, unlike in West Africa where they were caught unawares.