Eastern and Western Countries participating in the upcoming 2nd African Youth Games in Gaborone will go through a rigorous inspection, including quarantine, should the case of the Ebola epidemic be reported among the participants. Scheduled for 22nd-31st May, the multi-sport extravaganza will feature most of the African countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Morocco, Tunisia and Mali neighbouring Guinea.
The western African country recently saw an unprecedented eruption of the deadly contagious disease, with the epidemic reportedly killing scores of people and fear spilled over to neighbouring countries.
Minister of Health, Dr John Seakgosing, briefing parliament indicated that the incubation period of the disease could last for a week, adding the disease does not pose a threat to the much awaited games.
“Ebola countries are given much more attention. They will even go through a quarantine should we deem important to do so,” Seakgosing said on Thursday, answering a question from Francistown West MP Habaudi Hobana.
The National Epidemic Preparedness and Response Team have been working with the Greater Gaborone District Health Management Team to institute measures to curb the importation of the Ebola virus and have since been assembled, ready for deployment when necessary.
Besides personal protection items which have been distributed to health authorities, the staff of Sir Seretse Khama International Airport has been briefed on the epidemic and planned emergency responses.
“The same is also offered at the Maun International Airport,” Seakgosing said. Princess Marina Hospital and Block 8 clinic have been designated as isolation facilities should the need arise.
The Minister will dismiss the added congestion at the Marina hospital, saying more personnel will be designated for the duration of the games.
An isolation facility at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport has also been identified and will be appropriately equipped to serve as a holding facility for arriving suspected cases.
“Regular meetings are being organized by the National Epidemic Preparedness and Response Team to facilitate information sharing among key stakeholders,” the legislator said.
“Consultations with the organizing committee of Botswana African Youth Games are ongoing,” the Minister said.
He said his ministry will continue to monitor the situation and take the lead in ensuring that the country’s preparedness remains appropriate for the dynamic situation on the ground.
A contagious hemorrhage disease, Ebola has no specific treatment. The disease historically carries a high death rate. It can be transmitted through a simple rub or touch.
The Africa Youth Games will feature physical contact games including football, netball and many strings of sports codes. Botswana will feature in most of the sports codes.
A four-year tournament, the Games were first unveiled in Morocco with Batswana proud to host the second sports bonanza.