SANDF ready to manage Ebola virus disease

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The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) says there are no specific plans to evacuate the SANDF members deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

SANDF would however like to reassure  South Africas that the Ebola viral disease outbreak is continuously monitored by the South African Military Health Service (SAMHS), in collaboration with the National Department of Health and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

A contingency plan is in place to manage any outbreak of the disease in the country, as well as in the mission areas where SANDF is deployed.

This includes plans to evacuate a patient utilising a very sophisticated Transport Isolator System. All military hospitals, but specifically 1 Military Hospital, are prepared to receive and isolate any suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola Viral Disease.

The SAMHS has the most sophisticated portable isolation capability available in South Africa and this Negative Pressure Room Isolating System has been prepared to be moved at short notice to any facility where it may be required.

A formal training programme for isolating the very serious risk patients has been running for several years and  SAMHS has a large group of trained health care professionals to implement high-level isolation.

A strategic stockpile of protective clothing has been released from the SAMHS depot and was distributed to all government hospitals identified by the Minister of Health in the country, the Military Hospitals and to the Mission Areas.

A screening process, in line with the process implemented at International Airports in the country, has also been implemented at Air Force Base Waterkloof and Air Force Base Bloemspruit for international flights returning from external deployments to South Africa.

In collaboration with the private sector, health care information on diagnosing Ebola has been distributed within the SANDF, and sickbays managing members returning from external deployments has been cautioned to be alert to possible Ebola cases.

Within the government, private and military health sectors there are very close cooperation and joined readiness to manage an outbreak in South A or mission areas, should it occur.

The office of Surgeon General of  SANDF has further compiled and issued an internal information bulletin on Ebola which is distributed by means of its internal communication platforms to all SANDF members.

Issued: SANDF