Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ministers of Health, yesterday in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania met for an extra-ordinary meeting on Coronavirus, code-named COVID-19, where the use of modern technology was recommended to avoid face to face meetings.
Such a decision is meant to reduce the spread of the latest virus that has claimed thousands of lives worldwide according to a press statement of the meeting.
“The meeting recommended a temporary suspension of SADC regional face-to-face meetings and encourage utilization of Modern Technology such as video-conferences, Webinars and Skype Calls for holding such meetings until such a time when the situation has been contained.” the statement reads.
“The temporary suspension to be monitored by the Chairperson of Council, supported by the SADC Secretariat.”
Besides the use of technology, the regional member states were urged to utilize the SADC Pooled Procurement Services through the Medical Stores Department (MSD) for the procurement of medicines and supplies.
The countries were also urged to mobilise domestic resources, and invest in public health systems to ensure resilience and health security.
“The meeting further urged Member States to align country plans to continental strategies and utilize the existing technical structures such as the Africa CDC Regional Coordinating Team (RCT) in Zambia and WHO,” a statement from the meeting reads.
“The meeting directed the revived Committee to work in partnership with Disaster Management and other relevant structures at Member State and regional levels, and other sectors in government (Immigration, Tourism, Finance, Foreign Affairs and Trade); Africa CDC; Development Partners; Private Sector; and Civil society in line with the expanded Terms of Reference.”
Zimbabwe, which also participated in the extra-ordinary meeting claims to be prepared for the Asian virus, despite a suspected coronavirus patient escaping from Wilkins Hospital, a place of quarantine.
The country has not confirmed a case of coronavirus but fears rise as its trading partner South Africa confirmed seven cases of the virus.