Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane has reassured the public that the department was on ‘’high alert“ for a possible monkeypox outbreak.
This is after the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in the provincial Legislature on Wednesday called on the department to tell the public what measures were in place to deal with monkeypox, should it be imported and spread across the province.
Speaking at the Department’s Post-Budget Stakeholder Engagement programme held in Moses Mabhida Stadium on Thursday, Simelane assured the public that the province is on high alert, and is doing everything possible to screen people and cargo coming in from countries where the disease has been confirmed.
The MEC said the province’s communicable disease surveillance and control systems have been activated, and that the province is ready for any eventuality.
She also mentioned that the province’s healthcare facilities have enough isolation and quarantine beds that can accommodate patients in the event that monkeypox hits the province.
“I don't think it is correct to make such a big deal about a case that we don't have. We have not had a case in Africa for that matter of monkeypox, but if we find ourselves faced with this situation, and have to self isolate, we have enough beds for that.
“We had created a number of isolation beds at the beginning of Covid-19, so it will be very easy for us to revert back to isolating beds in the different facilities. Should we have a case, yes, we will be able to deal with it.
“The director general at a national level wrote us a letter to all the stakeholders indicating that, at this point in South Africa there were no reported cases, but the health system was ready for it,” said Simelane.
She further reiterated the national communique issued by the National Health Director-General, Dr Sandile Buthelezi this week, which stated that there have been no laboratory-confirmed cases of monkeypox in the country and on the continent.