PROGRESSIVE Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe has urged government to ensure that school authorities are adequately prepared to deal with cases of Ebola should there be an outbreak in schools when they open for the third term in two weeks’ time.
Government has indicated that it was “on a high alert” and continuously monitoring movement of people across borders.
Majongwe said it was, however, critical for communities in which schools were located to be empowered with the relevant knowledge on how to deal with the outbreak should it occur in their localities.
“We are, however, worried that besides the information in the print and electronic media, there is nothing going on to educate communities on how the disease is diagnosed and how those infected and affected should be handled,” he said.
Majongwe said it was particularly important for headmasters and teachers to be adequately equipped.
“What is even disturbing is that the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has witnessed two deaths in the last 48 hours. Considering the traffic between our two countries, this becomes a real threat. There are several illegal entry ports into Zimbabwe mainly for infected individuals to sneak into the country undetected,” he said.
Majongwe sad the third term, which begins on September 9, was particularly critical because of the attendant hot, humid and wet weather conditions which were said to accentuate the incidence of Ebola outbreak.
He urged the Health and Education ministries to urgently produce information leaflets on Ebola and to ensure known illegal entry ports are urgently brought under government supervision.
Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa has indicated that government was working on modalities to impose a travel ban to and from Ebola-hit West African countries as the disease spread to Southern Africa, with one case recorded in the DRC.
There were fears that if the Ebola virus spreads to Zimbabwe, the government might fail to contain it because of its heavily underfunded health sector
which saw over 4 000 people succumbing to a cholera epidemic in 2008.