VICE-PRESIDENT Inonge Wina yesterday launched the Zambia Ebola preparedness and response plan for 2015, which will require over K129 million to implement.
The objective of the plan is to enhance a timely, consistent and co-ordinated response in case of any Ebola outbreak in the country.
Mrs Wina said although Zambia has never experienced any case of Ebola, the country is part of the global village and the ease of travel between countries implies that Zambia remains susceptible to Ebola and many other infectious diseases.
“Although Zambia does not have direct flights to West Africa, the four international airports in Lusaka, Ndola, Mfuwe and Livingstone open up Zambia to travellers from across the globe, hence the need for us to be fully-prepared,” Mrs Wina said.
The launch, which attracted scores of people, was at Lusaka’s New Kanyama Primary School grounds.
The Vice-President said one of the big lessons from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is to have a well-functioning health system before a health crisis strikes.
“The Ebola outbreak teaches us more about the world’s vulnerability to emerging and re-emerging diseases when we look at how the outbreak started and spread,” Mrs Wina said.
She said the preparedness and response plan focuses on co-ordination and resource mobilisation, epidemiology, surveillance and laboratory.
It also focuses on case management and infection prevention, social mobilisation and media communication and logistics.
“The implementation of the plan will require concerted efforts of all key stakeholders; namely government, the UN system, development aid agencies, non-governmental organisations and faith-based ones. I, therefore, call upon all of us to ensure that the Ebola preparedness and response plan is fully implemented,” the Vice-President said.