The outbreak of Ebola in Africa highlighted the need for improved health care on the continent, former president Thabo Mbeki said on Thursday.
“Ebola underlined that there is an urgent challenge to attend to the health infrastructure on the continent — the infrastructure to diagnose this properly and deal with it properly,” he said.
According to the World Health Organisation, the virus has killed 3439 people in West Africa since the start of the year.
Mbeki said America had the capacity to deal with Ebola but some African countries did not.
“We need to look at matters of health policy on the continent. Better health doesn’t only mean better drugs,” he said.
It meant people with the capacity to dispense the drugs and people who were qualified to deal with outbreaks.
“If we don’t, there will be more outbreaks of Ebola and we won’t have the capacity to deal with it,” Mbeki said.
On Wednesday, the health ministry said South Africa was prepared for a potential case of Ebola.
“We have identified 11 hospitals around the country to deal with patients who could be affected by Ebola,” spokesman Joe Maila said at the time.
“If anything happens, and someone is discovered to have Ebola, we can send them to these hospitals.”
The facilities had isolation facilities and protective clothing.
Gauteng and the Eastern Cape each had two identified hospitals, while the remaining seven provinces had one each.
Last month, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi rejected claims that hospitals in the country were not ready to deal with an Ebola virus outbreak.
Motsoaledi was expected to announce an Ebola response fund on Friday.
South Africa set up the fund to mobilise resources from the business community to help fight the outbreak of the disease. SAPA