Sunday, February 28, 2021

No special fund to fight Ebola in place

Botswana’s political leadership has not created any special fund to prevent the deadly Ebola virus from spreading to the country.
The virus presents a serious threat to countries with limited resources, both human and capital.

The government has since employed travel bans to and from countries such as the DRC, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria to prevent the spread of the run-away virus.

Besides authorities in the Ministry of Health, the concern about the Ebola virus as a threat was raised by the chairperson of the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships (ACHAP), Joy Phumaphi, last month before a stakeholders gathering at the Gaborone Sun.

Just this past Saturday, Kgosi Mosadi Seboko of Balete also raised her fears of the Ebola threat before multitudes of people witnessing the graduation of Bogwera (male initiation ceremony).

There has been no firm commitment of resources or pledges by the political leadership of this country for Botswana to guarantee Botswana’s safety.

”The Ministry is currently operating within its annual budget to carry out activities towards educating the public on the prevention, symptoms and the understanding of the Ebola virus in general. Materials are being produced and we continue to procure relevant equipment needed for protection (PPEs) in an effort to prevent the spread of Ebola into and within Botswana,” said the Ministry of Health spokesperson, Doreen Motshegwa.

She said since Ebola was not budgeted for as it was never anticipated, the Ministry’s response to the virus is by prioritising resources.

“In this case resources are prioritised towards Ebola. It is however difficult to disclose the amount of money already used as activities are at various stages. We exploit the overall budget of the Ministry to identify where to draw funds,” said Motshegwa.
The Ministry of Health says it has placed its Port Health workers and health practitioners at all ports of entry to conduct health screening of locals and residents coming from Ebola affected countries.

“The screening entails administering questionnaires and temperature checks. Disease surveillance, inspection of cargo, monitoring of cleanliness of borders is also carried out with a view of implementing relevant public health measures,” said the Ministry of Health.

The ministry would not disclose the number of medical personnel dispatched to borders, saying a substantial number of health personnel ÔÇô clinicians and nurses ÔÇô has been dispatched to assist at the borders and at isolation facilities.

“Locals and residents coming from countries affected by Ebola are screened, and those who have been to Ebola affected countries in the last 90 days. A travel ban to and from Ebola affected countries has since been instituted,” said Motshegwa.

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