Minister Mwalimu tasks research institutions to study Marburg virus

MINISTER for Health, Ms Ummy Mwalimu has tasked research institutions in the country, including the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) to assist in finding a scientific solution on the originality of the Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) that claimed lives of six Tanzanians.

Equally, she directed districts and town councils in the country to set aside budgets for future pandemic emergency.

Addressing leaders at the Kagera Regional Commissioner’s office here on Friday, Ms Mwalimu said the government must get scientific answers on the disease.

“Was it imported from other countries or did it originate from the cave bats…we must get scientific answers,” she said.

Ms Mwalimu thanked development partners including the World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) and Africa CDC among others, for their multi-sectoral collaboration and commitment.

“As we celebrate the elimination of the Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) in the country the world must get ready for next pandemics. It’s not yet over,” she declared.

Minister Mwalimu hailed PresidentSamia Suluhu Hassan for her bold decision while declaring the outbreak of Marburg Virus disease in the country on March 16th, this year.

“It was a bold decision as the US Vice-President Alice Kamala was by then visiting Tanzania. We also thank the US Embassy in Tanzania and other partners for their support during this hard period,” she said.

She showered praises on all front- liners including workers under the Ministry of Health (MoH) for their commitment and readiness to serve patients during the Marburg period.

She explained that out of the nine cases recorded, six patients died including a worker under the Ministry of Health and a one-and half year-old child, while three other patients were fully recovered including Dr Mahona Ndulu, who gave testimony how he survived the pandemic.

Minister Mwalimu promised that her Ministry will incur costs to send him (Dr Ndulu) abroad for further treatment. She also donated 5m/- to the family of a medical worker (name withheld) who died due to Marburg disease.

Amid applause, the WHO Country Representative, Dr Zabulon Yoti, on the other hand, hailed President Samia, Minister Mwalimu and workers under the Health Ministry for their commitment that enabled the country to control the Marburg disease.

“Through your timely interventions you have saved your neighbours, other African countries and the whole world. The Marburg pandemic is a global emergence. I congratulate you all for the success. Development partners are proud of you (Tanzania),’ he said.

Deputy Director General of Africa CDC, Dr Ahmed Ouma and UNICEF Representative, Ms Shalini Bahuguna hailed the Tanzania Government for the efforts recorded in controlling MVD within 86 days, adding that in other countries it took longer to contain a pandemic emergency like Marburg.

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