SADC Health Ministers adopt position on Ebola

08 Sep 2014 12:00pm
WINDHOEK, 08 SEP (NAMPA) – The Ministers of Health from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region have adopted a common regional position on the travel of persons and trucks or commercial vehicles from Ebola-affected countries.
A communiqué issued by the SADC Secretariat on Monday said an extra-ordinary meeting on the Ebola virus disease (EVD) was held in Zimbabwe on 04 and 05 September this year.
During the meeting, the SADC Ministers of Health approved restrictions on the movement of people in line with the International Health Regulations (IHR) to contain the disease.
These restrictions include that people who have a history of coming into close contact with infected people and infected dead bodies or people and infected animals from Ebola should be quarantined for a period of up to 21 days.
People who enter a country from an Ebola-affected country as defined and advised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) are to be subjected to screening, and are to be followed up for a period of 21 days.
The statement said if it is absolutely essential for them to leave before the completion of the 21-day period, the next country should be notified and should continue with the surveillance for the remaining period.
SADC Member States were in addition urged to discourage their citizens from travelling to affected countries or high-risk areas, and to ask them to postpone their trips for as long as is possible.
The ministers agreed on standardising public health interventions to prevent the spread of EVD in their respective countries, which include the procurement and prepositioning of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), training of health workers, sensitisation of stakeholders, the identification and equipping of isolation/treatment centres, laboratory diagnosis and the screening of travellers at all critical points of entry or exit.
The purpose of the meeting was to bring Ministers of Health together to adopt a common SADC position on travel restrictions, and to get an update on Member States’ Ebola preparedness and response status.