DESPITE claiming it was ready to tackle the Ebola virus, Zimbabwe’s capacity to deal with the disease is under the spotlight after it emerged that there are no health checkpoints at Beitbridge, one of the busiest ports in Africa.
Only foot-and-mouth disease screening is being done, Southern Eye has been reliably told.
Car importers, cross-border traders and other travellers who used the border post in recent days testified that there was no screening being conducted.
It has been learnt that Ebola screening is only being done at Harare International Airport, but not at the Beitbridge border post, where truck drivers from countries hit by the disease regularly pass through.
A driver who works for a company that transports vehicles said he did not remember ever being screened for the disease since it broke out in West Africa.
“I only know of the foot-and-mouth screening,” he said.
“As for an Ebola checkpoint, I do not remember it. It’s not there.”
A traveller from South Africa yesterday also testified to the laxity on the part of government, describing it as “gross negligence”.
“That is negligence on the part of government, it should be taken to account,” she said.
Another source who imported his car yesterday also said he was “surprised and shocked” that the Health ministry did not seem to be taking the disease seriously.
“As I crossed into Zimbabwe, ahead of me were two cross-border haulage truck drivers coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo,” she said.
“They just crossed as if it is work as usual.
“We are not taking the disease seriously when we are not fully prepared to tame it once we contract it here in Zimbabwe, given the decay in our health sector.”
Health and Child Care deputy minister Paul Chimedza sounded uncertain when asked if there was screening at the Beitbridge border post.
“That cannot be, there should be screening,” he said on the sidelines of the opening of the Great Zimbabwe University’s Herbert Chitepo Law School last Friday.
Upon being further quizzed that travellers from South Africa said there was no Ebola screening, Chimedza said: “I will have to check with authorities there.”
Despite there being a number of Ebola scares in the country, no case of the deadly virus has yet been detected.