By BRIAN HATYOKA –
THE Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB) has called for increased screening of tourists visiting Zambia’s tourism sites to safeguard the country from the deadly Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever.
Recently, the Ministry of Health started sensitising officials working in Zambia’s points of entry on the deadly Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever which has lately killed many people in some West African countries.
ZTB Managing Director Felix Chaila said tourism was attracting lots of guests from all over the world and that the probability of spreading the disease was high.
He said there was need, therefore, to intensify safety and screening.
Mr Chaila said in an interview in Livingstone that there was also need to continue examining the country on matters of safety in areas such as Livingstone which was increasingly becoming an adventure capital for tourists.
“We need to continue examining ourselves on matters of safety as Livingstone is increasingly becoming an adventure capital.
“So if we are receiving tourists from all over the world, the probability of increasing the spread of the disease is high and we need to intensify safety and screening,” Mr Chaila said.
He said there was need for the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders to collaborate in the sensitisation campaign against Ebola.
“It will be good if the Ministry also engages the tourism sector so that we can help to lobby as we are doing with the yellow fever,” Mr Chaila added.
Early this month, Ministry of Health officials and the provincial medical office in Southern Province conducted the first sensitisation
meeting at Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport.
Ministry of Health deputy director for environmental and occupational health and safety Mulonda Mate said Livingstone was about 99 per cent vulnerable to Ebola transmission because many tourists around the world were visiting the city to view the Victoria Falls and other tourism sites.
Mr Mate said the ministry had embarked on awareness campaigns at points of entry on how to safeguard citizens against the disease.
He said the ministry was promoting the use of Personal Protecting Clothing as well as using strict isolation and barrier nursing of infected patients as some of the measures to mitigate further transmission of the disease.
The signs and symptoms of ebola are headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pain, loss of appetite, rash, red eyes, hiccups, cough, sore throat, chest pains, difficulties in breathing and swallowing.