TANZANIA: Authorities Suspend Health expert for declaring ‘Disease Outbreak’

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Authorities in Tanzania have suspended a health expert for issuing a statement about claims of a disease outbreak in the country.

On Wednesday, Tanzania’s health minister, Dorothy Gwajima, instructed authorities to suspend Felista Kisandu, the chief medical officer in the Chunya district of the Mbeya Region for alleged violation of health laws by announcing the emergence of disease outbreaks.

On Sunday, Dr. Kisandu said an unidentified infection, which caused people to experience nausea and vomiting of blood, plagued an administrative ward of Ifumbo, triggering panic among local residents.

“This problem has not affected the whole Chunya district but only in the Ifumbo ward. The symptoms were that the victims came in vomiting blood.” Dr Kisambu stated.

Minister Gwajima says Dr. Kisandu contravened the Public Health Act of 2019 that provides guidelines on announcing the emergence of disease outbreaks.

According to the minister, there is no proven case of any disease outbreak in Ifumbo, and she insists there is no public health disaster there. She said she has ordered the appointing authority to immediately suspend Dr. Kisandu, to pave the way for an investigation.

However, local media quoted Ifumbo ward leader, Weston Mpyila, saying that 15 people died of this unclear infection while more than 50 others were hospitalized.

According to the health minister, a team of medical experts has been dispatched to investigate the claims. Minister Gwajima also says the experts have interviewed local residents and found there were no sudden deaths.

Although the government has ruled out the presence of an alleged outbreak, the media also quoted 2018 records showing that a similar disease, accompanied by high fever and vomiting, broke out and killed several people in the region known for gold production.

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