Masvingo — Deputy Health and Child Care minister, Paul Chimedza has admitted that there are loopholes in the country’s Ebola prevention mechanisms, saying government is working on plugging them.
By Tatenda Chitagu
Speaking at a one-day provincial people’s conference organised by ZimRights on Friday, Chimedza said the Wilkins Hospital Ebola scare provided an opportunity for the country to test its preparedness in dealing with the deadly disease, which has claimed over 4 500 lives in West Africa.
“The Wilkins case was a trial-run for Zimbabwe. It made us reflect on how robust the system is in dealing with the disease in the event of a real case,” he said.
“We saw gaps in the health system. Even the health personnel were not psychologically prepared as others almost ran away when the suspected case was reported at Wilkins. We are praying that we do not get it.”
Chimedza said government was now working on correcting any shortcomings.
“We might not be perfect, but we are putting in place various mechanisms to have a robust system to prevent getting the disease here in Zimbabwe,” said Chimedza.
The Gutu South legislator reassured the nation that Zimbabwe was still Ebola-free, saying in the event of detection, government would not hide its presence.
“We cannot hide Ebola when it is recorded here. After all, the tests are done in South Africa and obviously the information will be known,” he said.
“It is not only government that is into the Ebola fight. There are other interested parties like the United Nations, for example. If there is Ebola, we will come out in the open. It is not [Health minister David] Parirenyatwa or Chimedza’s disease.”
Parirenyatwa last week said his ministry urgently required an additional US$3,5 million to adequately prepare for an outbreak of the Ebola virus.
“Government gave us US$132 000 for Ebola training across the country which is mainly targeting health workers, but the money is not enough.
There is real need for health workers’ training, especially those who handle patients at the casualty,” Parirenyatwa said.