Tanzanian health authorities insist no Ebola outbreak



(/NAN) Tanzanian health authorities on Thursday reiterated that there was no Ebola outbreak in the east African country.

The Minister for Health, Ummy Mwalimu, who made this known at a news conference in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam, urged people to trash claims about the outbreak of the deadly virus.

“There is no Ebola outbreak in Tanzania.

“The country is safe and people should not be scared with rumors being spread by social media and some international news outlets.

“There is no way you can hide the outbreak of epidemics like Ebola,” the minister said.

He added that samples of two suspected Ebola patients who died recently were tested and laboratory results showed negative.

She said that the results of the laboratory tests of the two patients were sent to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

However, Mwalimu said that since there was an outbreak of the virus in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Tanzania was on high risk and the country had already taken preparedness and response measures.

The official added that the ministry in collaboration with relevant international bodies was continuing to conduct simulation exercises in border regions of Kagera, Kigoma, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, and Dar es Salam.

She said that statistics from the DRC indicated that by Sept. 30, 3,194 people were diagnosed with Ebola and 2,133 of them were killed by the virus.

“Since Tanzania is a neighbour with DRC, the Ministry of Health has taken a number of preparedness and response measures,” said Mwalimu, who was accompanied by top health officials from her ministry.

On Sept. 24, the government of Tanzania summoned the country’s WHO representative following a recent statement by the UN health organisation that the country was not sharing information on results of recent tests of what was described as a strange disease that killed two people.

Hassan Abbasi, director of information services and government chief spokesperson, said via his official twitter account that the government summoned the WHO envoy to get a detailed report on the agency’s complaints through the media.

“The WHO representative has insisted that the UN health agency has no any evidence that there is an Ebola outbreak in Tanzania,” said Abbasi.

The spokesperson said that WHO agreed to follow laid-down procedures by the government of Tanzania when seeking information.

WHO had appealed to Tanzanian authorities to share information on results of recent tests of what was described as a strange disease that killed two people in the east African nation.

In a statement, WHO said, “The limited available official information from Tanzanian authorities represents a challenge for assessing the risk posed by the disease.”

On Sept. 14, Mwalimu refuted reports of an Ebola outbreak in the country, saying that people should not be scared by the claims. (/NAN)



Edited by Emmanuel Yashim

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