S. Africa ‘prepared’ for Ebola with 9 hospitals equipped

South Africa is prepared for a potential case of Ebola, the health ministry said on Wednesday in a statement.

“We have identified 11 hospitals around the country to deal with patients who could be affected by Ebola,” spokesman Joe Maila said.

“If anything happens, and someone is discovered to have Ebola, we can send them to these hospitals.”

Such hospitals were equipped with isolation facilities and protective clothing.

The provinces of Gauteng and the Eastern Cape each had two designated hospitals, while the remaining seven provinces had one each.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi last month rejected assertions that hospitals in the country were not ready to deal with an outbreak of the Ebola virus.

Replying to questions in the National Assembly, Motsoaledi insisted that the 11 hospitals and their staff could deal with Ebola in a professional manner.

“All the designated hospitals have received guidelines on viral haemorrhagic fever and Ebola virus… dealing with all aspects of diagnosis, isolation, treatment and even management of possible fatalities that may occur as a result of the Ebola virus disease,” he said.

According to the latest toll from the World Health Organisation, deaths from the virus amount to 3439 people in West Africa since the start of the year.

While South Africa spends hundreds of billions of rand on health every year from the state budget, much of which gets wasted due to endemic corruption, Motsoaledi nonetheless appealed to private-sector businesses to fund the country’s response to Ebola.

He was due to announce the setting up of an “Ebola response fund” by Friday.

Due to the ANC government’s open-borders policy, millions of people from all over Africa are clustered around South Africa’s major cities, in squalid conditions not far removed from those in West Africa.