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Are Zimbabwe Healthcare Professionals Ready for Ebola Outbreak?

Laboratory technicians of the company Icon Genetics prepare proteins from Tobacco plants (Nicotiana benthamiana) for weighing in a laboratory in Halle, August 14, 2014. Icon Genetics develop a technology to mass produce Ebola vaccine with the help of tobacco plants. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt (GERMANY - Tags: HEALTH SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY) - RTR42FWM

The Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Medical Association, Dr. Douglas Gwatidzo, says Zimbabwe’s healthcare professionals are ready to deal with the deadly Ebola virus should an outbreak occur in the country.

"The Ministry of Health in collaboration with the World Health Organization has been holding extensive workshops to equip the health professionals in case of an outbreak," said Gwatidzo.

Reports say at least two people have so far been killed by Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, frequented mostly by Zimbabwean cross border traders and truckers.

The traders and truck drivers fear that they may contract the incurable disease, which is transmitted by the fruit bat, monkeys, gorillas and other wild animals.

Dr. Gwatidzo, however, says the Ministry of Health has set up testing and diagnostic centers at the country's border posts and airports to ensure that visitors are screened before entering the country.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that more than 225 health workers have fallen ill and nearly 130 have lost their lives to Ebola since the West African outbreak was detected in the jungles of southeast Guinea in March.

WHO also reports that at least 1,427 people, mostly in Sierra Leone, Liberia and neighboring Guinea, have died from the deadliest outbreak of the disease to date.

Ebola has also been reported in Nigeria where it has killed five people.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's Health Minister, Dr. David Parirenyatwa, last week issued a travel alert advising locals not to travel to countries affected by the disease.

Gwatidzo reiterated this call saying it was imperative for locals not to risk their lives by travelling to affected countries until the epidemic is over.

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