THE Ministry of Health has called on the media to remain proactive by reporting accurately with factual information to avoid misleading members of the public on various health matters.
Lusaka Provincial Medical officer Kennedy Malama said the media was an important tool through which people could be updated on health matters citing outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in hardest hit West African countries, Liberia, Serra Leone and Guinea.
Dr Malama said any erroneous reporting such as the transmission and prevention of EVD could have adverse effects on how the disease was being handled by the ministry.
He said, though Zambia had not recorded any case of EVD outbreak, there was need for the media to educate and inform people with factual information.
Dr Malama was speaking in Lusaka at Mika Hotel at the closure of EVD orientation of media personnel drawn from five provinces namely Lusaka, Central, Southern, Eastern and Western.
The media orientation was one way of contributing to the preparedness and implementation of the national rapid response and preparedness plan.
The ministry was targeting specific audiences such as health workers, school-going children, traditional leaders and the media to ensure more EVD information was disseminated.
“The media is an important tool in disseminating information to the masses and our appeal for you to ensure that matters pertaining to health are reported careful to avoid misleading people,” he said.
The estimated number of illness and deaths in the three hardest hit countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to World Health Organisation, has grown from 21,373 to 24,701 and 8,468 to 10,194 since the outbreak of the disease in West Africa in 2014.
The Government has since established the national Ebola treatment Centre at Maina Soko Military Hospital in Lusaka where a team of health personnel has been trained to handle any possible case of EVD.
Ministry of Health Clinical specialist for communicable diseases Callitus Kaayunga said more EVD holding centres and isolation facilities have also been established in districts countrywide.
Dr Kaayunga said Government through the treasury, had released K10.7 million for the Ebola preparedness in Zambia, though, the country had not recorded any case of the disease.
Permanent Secretary Davy Chikamata said Government was on a high alert to combat any possible case of EVD and urged the media to help the masses in understanding the disease.