August 13, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudan announced Wednesday that it had put in place measures to prevent the possible spread of the deadly Ebola virus, which has hit many parts of West Africa.
“We are very concerned about the possibility of the spread of this deadly disease, Ebola. We have many people flying into the country from different parts of the world. Some of these people are working in different capacities helping us here either as part of the humanitarian workers, business people or the United Nations mission and it agencies,” said the health minister, Riek Gai Kok.
He stressed that South Sudan had not imposed any ban on flights coming into the country from the countries affected by the disease, but said the leadership, in collaboration with health partners, have put in place precautionary measures and created awareness on the disease.
Ebola is a viral disease, which reportedly spreads through direct physical contact with body fluid such saliva, urine blood, stool, vomit, virginal secretion sweat from infected person and soiled linen used by infected person. Symptoms of the disease start two days to three weeks after contracting the virus, with a fever, sore throat, muscle pain and headaches.
SCREENING OF PATIENTS
The health minister said concerned government institutions have started mounting health checks at Juba airport, explaining that the country experienced the first Ebola case in 1974 and later in 2004.
“As of now, we do not have any case with symptoms suggesting sign of Ebola but we call upon the general public to be vigilant and take precautionary measures in case of suspicion”, said Kok.
A multi-disciplinary taskforce, headed by the health minister, has been established to raise awareness on dangers of the disease. It works in collaboration with World Health Organisation (WHO) and other health partners.
"The primary objective of this task force is for precautionary purposes. It is to coordinate the national respond in case of any Ebola outbreak. We have instructed the states to form similar task force at their level and put in place a team of experienced health workers to handle the situation,” said the health minister.
“We have mobilised necessary efforts and assistance for this. We have mobilised necessary drugs and logistical supplies. The central medical store has been instructed to send necessary medical supplies to health facilities and instructed Juba teaching hospital to establish a special ward for isolation of the suspects”, he stressed.
Meanwhile since its outbreak was announced early this year, the disease continues to spread, with WHO reporting 1,013 Ebola deaths across Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone by last week.