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S. African cabinet approves funding for combatting Ebola

Source:Xinhua

Updated: 2014-08-22

JOHANNESBURG, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- The South African cabinet has further approved funding to support Ebola containment and prevent further spread of the virus to South Africa and other countries, it was announced on Thursday.

The funding, which amounts to 32.5 million rand (about 3 million U.S. dollars), will come from the African Renaissance Fund at the request of the Department of Health.

Part of the funding will be used to deploy the mobile laboratory in Sierra Leone, fund transport and accommodation for the team and training for health care workers, said Joe Maila, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health.

Maila was speaking at a press briefing in Pretoria after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday which was convened to discuss response to the Ebola threat.

The cabinet accepted the Southern African Development Community's (SADC's) decision that South Africa be a center of excellence for training, laboratory diagnosis and clinical expertise, said Maila.

At its meeting of health ministers in Johannesburg earlier this month, the SADC designated South Africa as the center of excellence in Ebola laboratory diagnosis in the region.

Maila said the cabinet also established an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to deal with the coordination of the response.

South Africa has dispatched a medical team to Sierra Leone to assist in containing the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in that region.

The deployment is in response to an extended call from the World Health Organization, Global Outbreak Alert Response Network (WHO/GOARN) in aid of the unprecedented outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.

Equipped with a sophisticated mobile laboratory, the team is set up close to Freetown, Sierra Leone and will serve to provide specialist diagnostic support in the efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak.

The team consists of four staff members of the Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases (CEZD) and includes a biosafety specialist and three laboratory staff.

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