Government upscales measures to prevent spread of Ebola

OCTOBER 23, 2014

Minister of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe, says South Africa has put in place the necessary measures to prevent Ebola from spreading to the country.

Addressing media on the outcomes of this week’s Cabinet meeting in Cape Town, Minister Radebe said surveillance at all ports of entry had been strengthened to identify viral haemorrhagic fevers, and Ebola in particular.

Government has also established a national response team in case of an outbreak and 11 hospitals are on standby at Ebola treatment centres.

On Wednesday, during the tabling of the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene announced that the National Treasury has had to make several adjustments to the budget of national departments to cater for unavoidable spending needs.

Funds had to be moved from less urgent areas to enable the Department of Health to implement measures aimed at protecting the country’s borders to curb the spread of the Ebola virus.

This included R32.6 million for the Health Department for control and prevention measures, including support for affected countries.

Nearly six months after the first case of Ebola in West Africa was reported to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 5 500 people have contracted the disease and over 2 500 have died.

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone remain the epicentre of the outbreak, while the WHO has declared that the outbreak in Nigeria has been defeated.

“Cabinet supports the efforts by the World Health Organisation in establishing Ebola treatment centres and strengthening capacity for laboratory testing, contact tracing, social mobilisation, safe burials and non-Ebola health care in West Africa.

“Cabinet also appeals to individuals and business worldwide to contribute to the Ebola Response Fund,” said Minister Radebe.

The Ebola Response Fund was established to assist all affected West African countries in their fight against Ebola. –