The Ministry of Health has constructed six Infectious Disease Isolation Centres to provide a conducive medical environment to patients with infectious diseases such as cholera, small pox, tuberculosis (TB), typhoid fever and Ebola.
Funded by the World Bank, the $8 million (about K5.8 billion) centres have been constructed in border districts of Karonga, Mchinji and Mwanza; and airport districts of Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu.
Speaking during the opening of one of the centres at Kameza in Blantyre, Minister of Health Atupele Muluzi said the centres signify that Malawi is prepared for the threat of Ebola and other serious diseases.
He said the ministry and its partners developed an Ebola Virus Disease Preparedness and Response Plan in October 2014 following World Health Organisation (WHO)’s declaration of the outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in August 2014.
Said Muluzi: “The outcome of this investment has also allowed us to invest in our human resource capacity and health management systems such that we are better-placed to deal with a similar scale threat.”
On her part, World Bank health and nutrition specialist Julita Manda said the organisation was concerned with the way patients suffering from various infectious diseases that required isolation were being accommodated.
The investment includes the procurement and distribution of personal protective equipment, 20 utility vehicles, including an audio-visual van for public engagement and education, 15 ambulances, information technology and medical equipment.
It also involved the training of 1 709 health workers and 80 border officers, and the strengthening of capacity to screen for Ebola and other diseases.