Are we prepared for Ebola outbreak?

HISTORY has shown us that as a country we are often caught flatfooted when disasters strike and there is therefore need for Zimbabweans to be worried and be on high alert after the virulent Ebola disease was detected in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Ebola, which has already killed three people in DRC, left a trail of disaster in 2015 killing thousands as well as affecting millions in West Africa and its early detection should be taken seriously considering the volumes of traffic that pass through Zimbabwe from DRC.

In an alert, the ministry of Health and Child Care, said Zimbabweans should be wary of the disease that is “highly infectious and fatal” and “easily spread through contact with blood and body secretions of the infected people and animals” the disease can kill 50 percent of its victims.

However, as shown by the floods that struck early this year, no one can take government’s seriously because thousands of people were left homeless while an apparent clueless administration fumbled in the dark, groping for solutions.

Since the turn of the millennium the ordinary citizens have been bearing the full brunt of government ill-preparedness to mitigate disasters, and the most poignant case in point are the Chingwizi flood victims who were affected by floods almost three years ago but are still to be offered alternative accommodation that is humane and conforms to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees right to shelter.

When floods hit Matabeleland, government was exposed as lacking the necessary responsive mechanisms that are essential in any forward-looking country.

An outbreak of armyworm also exposed the President Robert Mugabe-led government’s reactive nature and now with Ebola knocking on the door there is every reason to be concerned that this very administration will lead the country to the grave.

Although government is currently incapacitated by cash constraints and failing to bankroll key services such as health and education sectors, there is need to set up a fund that will be used to cushion victims when disasters strike.

Government that has imposed taxes almost on everything and is squeezing long-suffering Zimbabweans to the last drop should start to reorganise its priorities, starting with increasing the funding of key sectors such as health as well as cutting down on unnecessary public expenditure.

While there is no need to ring alarm bells, there is every reason to be on the lookout for this contagious disease that is known for wiping out communities and bringing nations to their knees.

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