Malawi government in Ebola virus disease simulation exercise

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BUTEMBO, CONGO - JULY 27: A healthcare member inoculates a man for Ebola suspicion to take precautions against the disease in Butembo, Democratic Republic of the Congo on July 27, 2019. (Photo by JC Wenga/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: A healthcare member inoculates a man for Ebola suspicion to take precautions against the disease in Butembo, Democratic Republic of the Congo. (Photo by JC Wenga/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Malawi government is conducting Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) small scale field simulation exercise in the border districts of Karonga and Chitipa in the northern region.

The exercise comes three weeks after a 37-year-old patient died in Karonga mid-October amid speculations that he was suffering from Ebola, reports the health authorities strongly dismissed as untrue.

The patient displayed signs and symptoms similar to those of Ebola such as high fever, bleeding from the eyes, nose and mouth and his condition and death raised alarm among Malawians.

But lab tests conducted in South Africa cleared the fears as the patient was confirmed to have died of bacterial infection and not Ebola as feared by many.

A statement released Wednesday by the Secretary for Ministry of Health and Population, Bestone Chisamile, announced that Malawi government was conducting the exercise to test the preparedness level of the country.

“The objectives of the simulation exercise is to provide policy makers, responders, and funders with a comprehensive picture of where and what kind of interventions and equipment are in place,” reads the statement.

It adds that the other objective is to strengthen districts’ preparedness should there be an EVD suspect in the country; and to identify gaps in the present response intervention and review the preparedness activities already undertaken.

According to the statement, the exercise follows the comprehensive Ebola preparedness and response plan that the Malawi government, through the Public Health Institute of Malawi developed under the Ministry of Health and Population.

“…Apart from the simulation exercise to be undertaken, the Government of Malawi has also developed and adapted standard operating procedures; enhanced surveillance at ports of entry; and raised public awareness and community engagement through various channels,” reads the statement.

The Malawi government has also trained health workers and it has prepositioned supplies and equipment in strategic point, according to the statement.

The Malawi government has further urged the public to continue with its vigilance in monitoring signs and symptoms of EVD and to report to the nearest health facility if they notice the disease’s symptoms.

The EVD broke out in the Democratic Republic of Congo in August 2018, forcing the World Health Organization to declare it as “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” in July.

The emergency of Ebola in the DR Congo has put neighboring countries, and the southern Africa region at potential risk.

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