By John Chihana- Ileje –Tanzania, MANA
Chitipa District Council Friday engaged officials from Ileje District in Tanzania in a bid to develop common strategies in preventing the outbreak of Ebola in the two border districts.
Sponsored by the Malawi Red Cross Society, officials of the two districts held their meeting at Ileje in Tanzania where health workers of both sides shared notes on how prepared they are in case of Ebola outbreak.
Opening the meeting, District Commissioner for Ileje, Joseph Mkude said the two bordering districts are supposed develop viable preventive measures against Ebola for Malawi and Tanzania to remain free from the disease.
He said concerted efforts by the border district is fundamental in minimizing the risk of the outbreak in the two countries.
In his remarks, District Environmental Health Officer for Chitipa, Sam Chirwa said Chitipa District Council has scaled up its efforts in putting in place preventive strategies by conducting community awareness campaigns, establishing quarantine camps, capacity building of border and health workers and screening of cross border travellers.
Chirwa however, bemoaned increasing number of un-documented asylum seekers crossing the borders through Chitipa as one of the challenges, hence the need for improving collaboration on screening exercises on both sides of the two countries.
Also speaking at the meeting, Ileje District Medical Officer, Dr. Enock Mwambalasa said the district is well prepared as it has formed four task forces to specifically work in surveillance, laboratory tests, case management and burials in case of an outbreak of the disease.
“We have put personnel along the border to detect early signs of Ebola, and we are working towards establishing a full screening facility at our border with Chitipa,” said Mwambalasa.
The two sides agreed to be sharing Ebola related information. The disease is reported to have so far killed over 2,000 people in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) while other cases have been registered in Uganda which borders Tanzania.
District Commissioner for Chitipa, Humphrey Gondwe stressed on the need for authorities of the two districts to be sensitizing communities along the borders against harbouring un-documented immigrants who have not been screened.