….As Minister of Health states that all things being equal, the epidemic will be declared retired in the next 10 days
Zambia’s Minister In-Charge of HEALTH, MCC Hon. Dr Chitalu Chilufya has announced the oubreak of the deadly Ebola disease in one of Zambia’s neighbouring Countries , The CONGO DR.
Briefing the Nation through the Press at Ndeke House this afternoon, Dr Chilufya stated that thus far, 75 contacts had been seen by the teams in the Feild and that 3 health workers had fallen victim to the disease in the line of duty, with a suspected death.
” Zambia shares a very long boader with the democratic Republic of Congo and it is imperative that we give the nation, the risk assessment in relation to Zambia.” Dr Chilufya said.
” The geographical location of the epicenter is on the other boader with the Central African Republic. The Epi Centre is also in the place that is not only remote, but very difficult to access and this makes the risk assessment to be very low for Zambia. So the risk assessment at global level and for Zambia is very low.” He added.
And the Health Minister informed that the risk level at National level for the Congo DR was however high and that the risk assesment level for the regional area near the other boader was moderate because of the river that was shared between the DRC and the Central Africa Republic.
Dr Chilufya stated that though the risk assessment for Zambia was very low, Government had taken precautionary measures in order to ensure public health security and that this had been done in line with the International health regulations .
The Minister outlined the interventions as follows:
No.1 That Disease Surveillance activities had been escalated at all boarder points in the Country.
” We have re enforced all the boarder entry points with surveillance officers and disease intelligence and Surveillance activities have been escalated.” He said
No. 2 That National, Provincial and District teams that had been trained in Ebola response had been reactivated and designated places were isolation would potentially be done if they received suspects had also been identified.
” We still have adequate stocks of protective equipment. Protective wear that we put in place during the last outbreak. Further, we have pulled back the Multi Sectoral plan that we made at Country level in the last outbreak and recirculated it to all the line Ministries for them to take various roles in line with National Health Policy. And to this effect, working through Cabinet Office , the Committee of Permanent Secretaries will be resuscitated.” He said.
And Dr Chilufya stated that the World Health Organization would be carrying out further risk assessments and would be sending teams to all the nine neighbours of the DRC, in order to identify gaps , identify or assess capacity and as well map resources and see what was required and were.
The Minister of Health assured the Nation that Zambia was at low risk because the epicenter for the Disease was relatively remote to Zambia and was inaccessible and because of the highly effective response that had been mounted by the Ministry of Health of the DRC which had massive experience and supported by the World Health Organization and Other Partners .
He emphasised that Zambians had therefore no need to be alarmed.
Meanwhile, The Minister of Health has announced the approaching exit of the Cholera epidemic in Zambia.
” As we slide and inch towards the end of the Cholera outbreak and inch towards the declaration of the end of the outbreak, we have embarked on progressive disengagement and the gradual relaxation of restrictions that were entrenched through statutory instrument no. 79 of of 2017 that I issued . Key among these restrictions that have been relaxed is that the Heroes stadium that was declared a Cholera treatment center under the Provisions of SI 79 of 2017 is no longer a designated protected area and is now reverting to normal Public use. Thorough disinfection is currently being undertaken and will be completed by tomorrow.” He said .
Dr Chilufya took time to urge all citizens to continue practicing high levels of hygiene and ensuring to drink only safe water as well as ensuring that waste management was enhanced, hand washing was enhanced and a continuation in interaction with various health workers and stakeholders to ensure that there was no more risk of contracting the disease.
” In the last 5 days , there has been no confirmed case of Cholera. On average there has been one case which is suspected but on culture proven negative. But because of the clinical definition that we put in an outbreak, on average we have had one clinical case per day in the last 5 days that has proven negative and we are still in a period were we want to record even Zero clinial period for the 10 days before we declare it over. But for now, we can safely say the outbreak is under control.” Said the Health Minister in Conclusion.