05 Aug 2014 18:40pm
WINDHOEK, 05 AUG (NAMPA) Health and Social Services Minister Richard Kamwi will join other Southern African Development Community (SADC) health ministers for a one-day emergency meeting on the deadly Ebola virus in South Africa on Wednesday.
The meeting, scheduled to take place in Johannesburg, will bring together the ministers of health of the SADC Member States and their partners.
Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS) Public Relations Officer Ester Paulus confirmed on Tuesday that Kamwi will attend the meeting, accompanied by senior officials from the ministry.
They are Deputy Permanent Secretary Dr Norbert Foster; medical superintendent of the Windhoek Central Hospital, Doctor Sara Shalongo; Dr Gordon Cupido, a healthcare practitioner specialising as a physician at the Katutura Intermediate and Windhoek Central Hospitals; and Deputy Director of the Epidemiology Department in the MOHSS, Clementine Muroua.
A media statement availed to Nampa by the SADC National Media Coordinator at the SADC Secretariat in South Africa, Mmemme Mogotsi on Tuesday said the main purpose of the meeting is to bring together ministers of health and key stakeholders to build a consensus on appropriate strategic actions to prevent the introduction or spread of the Ebola virus in the SADC Region.
Mogotsi added that the emergency meeting will also provide a forum for the region to share technical experiences on Ebola so that the region can remain vigilant and come up with common understanding regarding the containment of the virus in case of an outbreak; and to agree on a strategy for accelerated operational response.
Last Friday, an aircraft which arrived at the Hosea Kutako International Airport from Johannesburg was quarantined after it was suspected that one of the passengers had contracted the virus.
The MOHSS later that day however ruled out Ebola as the cause of his illness. The passenger was a Namibian citizen and was cleared of the virus after thorough testing by a team from the MOHSS.
According to recent reports, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are struggling to contain the epidemic, which has infected more than 1 300 people since the start of the year, hit major cities and sparked alarm over its possible spread to other nations.
Ebola, which has no vaccine, causes severe muscular pains, fever, headaches and in the worst cases, unstoppable bleeding.
International news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports that Ebola has killed around two-thirds of those it has infected since its emergence in 1976, although the death rate in the current outbreak is lower at 55 per cent.
Fears that it could spread to other continents through air travel have been growing, with European and Asian countries on alert, alongside African countries outside the Ebola crisis zone.