South Sudan steps up nation-wide Ebola surveillance

Ebola surveillance (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

July 7th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – As the deadly Ebola case has been confirmed, just 70 kilometers from the Congo border with South Sudan, the South Sudan Ministry of Health, with support from the World Health Organization (WHO), has intensified its surveillance campaigns to combat the Ebola epidemic across all the country’s border posts.

“On 30th June 2019, a 41-year old women, a known contact under surveillance, succumbed to Ebola at Aliwara town east of the DRC some 70 kilometers from Kaya on the South Sudan Border. This is a sobering reminder of the need to heighten our preparedness and response mechanisms, to ensure a rapid response in place, and to further protect our people should the virus sneak into the country,” said South Sudan’s Health Officials in a statement.

The statement issued by a health official urged members of the public to remain calm and exercise their daily activities, saying there is no cause for alarm.

“I would like to reiterate and assure the South Sudanese people and residents that there is no Ebola virus in South Sudan and that you are safe going about your business as usual, or travel into or out of the country. There is no reason to panic” the statement pointed out.

However, despite the Ministry of Health’s assurance of safety, the public has been warned of extreme caution to prevent the Ebola epidemic from entering the country through the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“However, vigilance should be maintained to prevent Ebola importation following the announcement in the DRC, the South Sudan National Task Force convened a meeting to coordinate and plan immediate preparedness activities.”

Since the beginning of the year, the Ministry of Health underlined that a number of surveillance strategies have been initiated to help ramp up the process of enhancing the EVD preparedness.

However, lack of funding to help develop an adequate core package at the State level, is most likely to make the plan futile. “Several preparedness activities have been implemented in South Sudan since January 2019 that have greatly improved EVD preparedness at the national level however funds to roll out a minimum basic package at the state level are still lacking, thus increasing the vulnerability to contain a cross border spread to South Sudan Elements of cross border collaboration with neighboring countries in the region have also played a part in South Sudan’s preparedness efforts.”

The Ministry of Health further stated that the Ebola epidemic does not distinguish between humanitarian workers and civil servants, and that for that reason more preventive measures should be taken.

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