Dar es Salaam, 20 February 2015 - The WHO Tanzania country office provided the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare equipment to strengthen Ebola and pandemic influenza preparedness in the country. Items handed over included: heavy duty personal protective equipment (PPEs ) for Ebola such as gumboots, heavy duty gloves and aprons, protective goggles, sprayers and cadaver bags, laboratory incubator, 10 computers, 10 UPS and 12 printers, all worth a total of US$ 46 070 equivalent to Tanzania Shillings 83 617 100.
The handing over ceremony was presided by the Permanent Secretary, Dr Donan Mmbando and witnessed by the Director of Preventive Services, Dr Neema Rusibamayila and other Directors and Programme Officers from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the WHO Representative for Tanzania, Dr Rufaro Chatora, WHO staff and members of the media.
In his handing over speech, the WHO Representative, Dr Rufaro Chatora, commended the Ministry of Health management and especially the Epidemiology Unit for the hard work on-going to ensure that the country is prepared for Ebola and pandemic influenza epidemics. He also used the opportunity to provide updates on the improving Ebola virus disease outbreak situation in West Africa. On the remaining challenges, Dr Chatora said, “We are informed the main hurdle now is community resistance to interventions such as contact tracing, isolation of cases and supervised burials. That’s why public information is important in any outbreak situation. Hence, the important role of the media”.
Remarks emphasized on the need to remain vigilant and elaborated on the current gap to be addressed to enhance Ebola and pandemic influenza preparedness in the country. He concluded by reassuring WHO’s commitment to work with partners to support the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in strengthening the country’s preparedness.
In his acceptance speech, the Permanent Secretary MOHSW, Dr Donan Mmbando said that the items handed over will complement the country’s preparedness efforts in response to the threat of Ebola.
Emphasizing on the importance of multisectoral joint action, he said, “The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is an unprecedented health crisis in terms of size, severity and complexity. We therefore need to act fast in our preparations because we don’t know when the disease will strike. Preparedness also requires involvement of other sectors beyond the health sector.” The Permanent Secretary concluded by expressing appreciation to the World Health Organization for the timely support to the people of Tanzania and assured that the equipment will be used as intended.
For more information, please contact:
Dr. Rufaro Chatora: +255 22 2113005: Email: chatorar [at] who.int
Dr. Grace Saguti: +255 754 287875; Email: sagutig [at] who.int
Dr Neema Kileo; Tel: +255 755 551804; Email: kileon [at] who.int
Audience present during the handing over ceremony at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare premises
The WHO Representative, Dr. Rufaro Chatora handing over PPE kit to the Permanent Secretary