Malawi’s porous borders have been said to be one of the major risks that might expose the country to the deadly Ebola outbreak currently causing havoc in some African countries especially in the western parts of the continent.
The country’s Chief Immigration Officer Hudson Mankhwala has therefore asked all people in border districts to be on guard and also desist from aiding illegal immigrants into the country.
According to Mankhwala, a lot of Malawians have taken advantage of the porous borders to make quick money by aiding illegal immigrants.
The World Health Organisation reported that Ebola death toll has risen to 2,793 out of 5,762 cases in 5 countries of Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal. Unlike other countries on the continent Malawi has been slow in putting measures to check the outbreak thereby triggering concerns that government was not doing anything to protect its citizens.
However, Mankhwala assured people that government, through the Ministry of Health, was doing everything possible to check the outbreak and the country’s possible exposure.
“All immigrants at the airports and other border posts are being screened but these illegal immigrants use uncharted routes where they are not screened. This is where the major threat is. They are not subjected to Ebola screening gadgets when they use the unchartered routes,” he said.
Mankhwala called on all Malawian to be patriotic and handle these illegal entrants with caution to avoid exposing the country to Ebola.
“If Malawi is going to get Ebola it will be through these illegal entrants. Refugees and asylum seekers go through proper scrutiny but these illegal immigrants do not,” he said.
Ebola is a viral illness that spreads between humans by direct contact with infected blood, bodily fluids or organs, or indirectly through contact with contaminated environments.
Even funerals of Ebola victims can be a risk, especially if mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased.
With a constrained 2014/2015 budget which has resulted into a huge shortfall towards the health sector, many observers have warned that if the Ebola outbreak hits then it would be a disaster for the country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :