HARARE City Council (HCC) yesterday said it was prepared to deal with any suspected cases of Ebola in the event that the disease finds its way into the country.
Speaking after a tour of the Ebola detention site stationed at Wilkins Infections Hospital, director of city health services Prosper Chonzi said all the 16 HCC doctors and at least 200 nurses had been trained on how to handle Ebola.
“We are also in the process of training others like the uniformed forces so as to beef up our teams,” Chonzi said.
“Today [yesterday], we have a team which has gone to Chitungwiza to train health workers from Chitungwiza Hospital, Clinics and SouthMed on Ebola. We will be training the private sector over the weekend.”
Chonzi said as health professionals would be dealing with a highly infectious disease, discussions were taking place to award health workers “risk allowances”.
“It’s still under discussion that we might give health workers risk allowance but at the moment we do not have it.”
Chonzi said they have made arrangements with two funeral parlours to deal with bodies of people who would have died from Ebola.
“We have already made arrangements, people are going to do away with some of the cultural things they do when a person dies,” Chonzi said.
“We are going to take care of the dead, and we have already prepared a place for them at the Granville cemetery. It has been realised that more people get the disease from the dead bodies, so they will have to be handled in a special manner to avoid spread of the disease.”
Chonzi said there was need for vigilance at the country’s entry points so that people with Ebola do not get into contact with other people.
In a bid to stop the spread of the disease, government was putting people from the affected West African countries on 21 day surveillance where they are monitored by Wilkins hospital.
At least 98 people have been put under Ebola surveillance in Harare after travelling to Ebola-hit West African countries.
Of the 98 people, 84 were coming from Nigeria and 46 of them have already been discharged after testing negative following the 21-day surveillance period under which the disease is expected to manifest.
Ebola is a disease which spreads through contact with infected body fluids. Ebola has wreaked havoc in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Senegal and Liberia where it has claimed over 2 600 lives.