US applauds Tanzania transparency on Marburg

US Ambassador to Tanzania  Dr  Michael Battle has  commended  the government for  transparency and quick  disclosure  of  information  to the public  about  Marburg virus disease  detected  in  Kagera Region.

“We commend the government of Tanzania for being transparent especially in releasing quick information related to the disease’s outbreaks  including  Marburg… you have  demonstrated  good leadership to the world about the  health safety of  all Tanzanians and the world  in general,” Dr Battle said.

The envoy made the remark in Dodoma on Thursday when he met and held talks with the Minister for Health, Ms Ummy Mwalimu.

He said through the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) they will continue to improve the health of Tanzanians and provide training to community health workers and laboratory technicians in the area of diagnosing also other diseases.

Dr Battle further commended the Minister Mwalimu for good supervision of her docket especially in the fight against disease outbreaks.

In a related development Dr Battle said that the visit by the US Vice President Kamala Harris to Tanzania will bring together two most influential women in the world, adding: “This is commendable.”

On her part, Ms Mwalimu  said that Tanzania will continue to  fulfill its responsibilities  by abiding to the international health  standards including releasing information earlier  in order to protect  its people  and observe the international health safety.

The envoy remarks came just a few days after Ms Mwalimu said on Tuesday that investigations carried out by the National Laboratory on the samples from the patients showed it is Marburg virus disease.

She, however, said that there should be no cause for alarm as the disease is manageable and the government can contain it. The viral disease has far been contained from further spreading within the reported locality.

Ms Mwalimu said that there is no need to worry because the viral disease is not new. It was reported several times in neighbouring Uganda in 2017, 2014, 2012, and 2007, DRC from 1998 to 2000, America and Europe.

Since the disease was reported on Thursday last week, five people out of eight confirmed cases have died while three more are admitted in hospital and progressing well.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health (MoH) in collaboration with Kagera regional authorities are closely monitoring about 193 people, who had close contacts with eight confirmed cases with Marburg virus disease.

Chief Medical Officer, Prof Tumaini Nagu told reporters during a media briefing held at the Bukoba Regional Referral hospital, yesterday that  out of 193 people who had contact with eight confirmed cases with Marburg virus disease 89 are workers under the Ministry of Health while 104 others  are  community members.

“The Ministry of Health in collaboration with Kagera regional authorities is closely monitoring about 193 people who had close contacts with eight confirmed cases with Marburg virus disease. They will be under close monitoring for 21 days.

All the eight Councils of Muleba, Bukoba DC, Biharamulo, Ngara, Karagwe, Kyerwa, Missenyi and Bukoba MC have set up special isolation rooms in all their health facilities for screening the suspects,” she said.

Prof Magu explained that there should be no cause for alarm as the disease is manageable and the government can contain it. The viral disease has been contained from further spreading within the reported areas in Bulinda and Butahyaibega villages in Maruku and Kanyangereko Wards in Bukoba Rural District.

According to reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) the disease was first confirmed in Marburg, Germany in 1967. At some point the disease has also been reported in various African and European countries.
Besides, she urged care takers and health attendants to effectively take preventive measures and health
infection prevention and control at all time.

Marburg virus disease (MVD) is a rare but severe hemorrhagic fever which affects both people and non-human primates. MVD is caused by the Marburg virus, a genetically unique zoonotic (or animal-borne) RNA virus of the filovirus family. The six species of Ebola virus are the only other known members of the filovirus family.

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