The Examinations Council of Zambia (ECZ) has dispelled assertions that delegates from Sierra Leone, who arrived in Livingstone ahead of the 32nd Association for Educational Assessment in Africa (AEAA) Conference, were not screened for the contagious Ebola virus.
ECZ Principal Examinations Officer, Albert Siamunako, said all delegates from West Africa arriving in the country through the Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport have been screened and would be subjected to daily screening during their stay in Zambia.
Speaking during a press briefing at Zambezi Sun Hotel in Livingstone today, Mr Siamunako acknowledged that five delegates from Sierra Leone were turned away from a named hotel on Friday but were later accommodated after the Ministry of Health intervened.
“It is true that on the first day (Friday) we had five delegates from Sierra Leone who were not allowed to stay at one of the hotels here in Livingstone. But After Ministry of Health intervened, they were allowed and more delegates from West Africa are being allowed to check into lodges and hotels now,” he said.
Mr Siamunako explained that a task force comprising of the Ministry of Health, National Airports Corporation, Immigration Department, the Zambia Air Force and Ministry of Education as organizers of the conference was set up to implement measures of how to contain the disease in case of an outbreak.
“A surveillance team is already in place and the Ministry of Health has distributed protectiveclothing to officers at entry points and airports where delegates are being screened. Each time a plane lands, our delegates are being screened before they are allowed to check out. So the misconceptions going round that delegates are not being screened are not true,” he said.
He urged all stakeholders invited for the conference to attend without fear of stigmatisation as the Ministry of Health had put all possible measures in place to safeguard them against the deadly disease.
Over 100 delegates from West Africa are expected to attend the 32ndAEAA Conference taking place in Livingstone from 11th to 15thAugust, 2014 out of the 345 total participants from different examining boards in Africa and abroad.
Yesterday, Health Minister, Joseph Kasonde, clarified that government had not banned entry into Zambia of all individuals and nationals coming from Ebola Virus -affected countries but had merely issued a travel advisory memo as a precaution to prevent the disease from reaching the country.