News and updates from the continent

SA’s DoH selects 11 potential Ebola treatment centres

SA’s DoH selects 11 potential Ebola treatment centres

Sep 3, 2014

According to a report from the SABC, South Africa’s Department of Health (DoH) has selected 11 hospitals across the country to quarantine and treat Ebola patients should the need arise.

DoH Head of Communications Mr Popo Maja said the selected hospitals were chosen because for their expertise and equipment. The DoH said criteria used to choose these specific sites was focused on teaching or academic/tertiary hospitals, are linked to a medical school and provide medical students and healthcare workers with training and supervised practical experience.

Maja also said the critical issue in containing Ebola is isolation wards and personal protective equipment.

Other interventions supporting these healthcare facilities include the training of staff assigned to handle such cases. Training has been designed and is being implemented, with high risk provinces – particularly those with high international air-traffic volumes such as Gauteng and Western Cape – getting priority.

This is the worst Ebola outbreak in history, with quarantine shutting off businesses and agricultural enterprises from consumers. The hardest-hit West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have reported over 3,000 cases, including the infections of 240 health-care workers.

Ebola is now spreading from remote provinces into bustling cities. David Nabarro, coordinator of the new UN Ebola effort, said recently that when Ebola gets into the cities, it takes on another dimension. “We have never had this kind of experience with Ebola before.”

While the distance between Ebola-ravaged West Africa and South Africa is great, foreigners have indicated some fear. However, South Africa does not share a land border with any of the affected countries, and falls into the category of “low risk” regions with India, Europe and most other nations outside West Africa.

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