ZIM ready to fight ebola

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AS the fight against the deadly Ebola virus rages on, health authorities are faced with a gruelling war on two fronts; that is containing the actual Ebola Haemorrhagic Virus (EHV) on one hand and the panic that has gripped many.
WHO reports that, Ebola has claimed over 430 lives in Guinea, 694 in Liberia, six in Nigeria and Sierra Leone 422 bringing the total deaths to 1 552 as of August 28.
Globally, WHO has recorded over 3 000 cases of the virus. In several countries across the globe visitors from countries which are considered the epicentre of Ebola are reportedly screened and when found infected are being quarantined.
The possibility of the virus getting into the country has many in the country worried and with Zimbabweans dotted around the globe many fear the worst. As the fear of Ebola grips many nations, travellers from Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia are facing movement restrictions.
In several countries across the globe passengers from countries which are considered the epicentre of Ebola are vigorously screened and when found infected are quarantined.
Zimbabwe though far from the epicentre or countries that have been affected has not been immune to fear.
False alarm has been raised in the mining town of Kadoma and Bulawayo.
Panic spread through a major Bulawayo hospital after a cross-border truck driver ‘with symptoms’ of the deadly Ebola was admitted last week.
Fear gripped Kadoma residents when rumours spread that an Ebola patient had been admitted at Kadoma General Hospital.
Even cases of Zimbabweans that have been affected abroad have been reported.
But the reports have emerged to be false as no Zimbabwean has been affected by the virus.
The question that has been raised is whether the country is prepared and ready to detect and fight the virus in the unfortunate scenario that we get to experience the deadly virus.
Many have argued that the country is at risk and vulnerable to the disease owing to porous border posts and the health sector that has been crippled by the economic meltdown induced by illegal Western sanctions.
But the country’s authorities with the assistance of organisations such as WHO have put in place measures to ensure that any cases of Ebola will be detected.
Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Paul Chimedza said the country was ready to fight the Ebola virus head on in the event that it is reported.
“Our goal is to make sure Ebola never comes into the country,” he said.
“In the event that we identify someone with the symptoms, the country has highly trained health experts who can detect the symptoms and send the person for quarantine and further testing.”
Dr Chimedza added that even though the country does not have blood testing equipment that can detect the virus, it was important for the public not to panic as the Government is more than capable of fighting the virus.
“We send blood samples to South Africa for verification. It is a very simple process which takes about two to three days and that does not mean the country is incapable of containing the virus in the event that it finds its way into the country.”
In addition, the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) last month received special treatment kits and protective clothing used in the treatment of Ebola patients from WHO.
Wilkins Hospital was also identified last month by the MoHCC as the official quarantine centre in the event of an outbreak in the country.
Meanwhile, the security forces have increased border patrols to ensure that there are no ‘border jumpers’ that will bring in the virus.
“However, it must be understood that border jumpers are mostly from countries that we share borders with and no cases have been reported in these countries,” said an official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Ebola is an infectious and generally fatal disease marked by fever and severe internal bleeding, spread through contact with infected body fluids by a filovirus (Ebola virus), whose normal host species is unknown.
The virus may be acquired upon contact with blood or bodily fluids of an infected animal or human. Timely treatment of Ebola is important but challenging because the disease is difficult to diagnose clinically in the early stages of infection.
Because early symptoms, such as headache and fever, are non specific to Ebola viruses, cases of Ebola may be initially misdiagnosed.
However, if a person has the early symptoms of Ebola and there is reason to believe that Ebola should be considered, the patient should be isolated and public health professionals notified.
Supportive therapy can continue with proper protective clothing until samples from the patient are tested to confirm infection.
Who emphasises on the need to educate people on how to prevent the disease rather than to fear and flea.
Since 1976, the year when the first case of Ebola was recorded, Western countries like United Kingdom and United States of America have seen it as a problem synonymous with Africans.
Two Americans, Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who were affected with the virus have since been treated and cured.

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