Monday, May 4, 2009

"SADC" Region: "South Africa": "Official Opposition" party ("DA"), questions gov. response on "Swine FLu"

(Social Justice South Africa)

Article by Marc Aupiais

As per usual, what follows is only a quotation, nothing more, it does not imply endorsement, nor agreement. It is quoted, due to the issue covered, and the newsworthiness of the source.

Our service received the following from the "Official opposition", the "DA" ("Democratic Alliance"), today. The "Democratic Alliance": is a secular, "South African" party, which allows "Members of Parliament", freedom to vote as they choose on issues of conscience, something the "Ruling" "ANC" ("African national Congress") often denied their own members. It originates with the "Progressive Federal Party" ("PFP"), known for its political opposition to the "Apartheid" regime.

Their discourse, concerns some concerns they have, over the reaction of the "South African" state, to the "Swine Influenza A"/"Swine Flu"/"Pig Flu"/"Strain of H1N1" epidemic, as it relates to two suspected "South African" cases.

Details of email:
 received 12:48 PM on the 04 / 05 (May) / 2009: Today:

"---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Democratic Alliance 
Date: 2009/5/4
Subject: DA@WORK 4 May: DA calls for action, communication on Swine Flu
To: (Excluded for security reasons)"

Article in email, which we think of note, and are quoting (without endorsing its accuracy, or views, these are the "DA"'s and not necessarily ours), within email dispatch sent out by the "DA" ("Democratic Alliance"):


The Democratic Alliance last week called on the government to set up a national toll-free hotline where people could check their symptoms and obtain advice about the risk of contracting swine flu.

“The reports of two cases of suspected swine flu in South Africa requires the health department to urgently say what its plan of action to deal with this potential epidemic is,” said DA health spokesperson Mike Waters last Thursday. “Most importantly, it must tell people who to notify and what to do if they suspect they or their relatives are infected.”

Waters said that, while several other countries have put in place rigorous procedures to prevent infections of swine flu from spreading, the South African government had been lethargic in its response, and had done little more than tell South Africans they had nothing to worry about.

“While South Africans should not be panicking about swine fever, and the two people who are reported to have been infected are recovering well, the reality is that this is a variety of flu that medical experts do not know how to manage. Therefore, every possible precaution needs to be in place to stop its spread.”

Earlier in the week, Waters called for a committee consisting of representatives from the departments of home affairs, health and transport to be set up urgently to develop a strategy to prevent swine influenza from entering the country and, should that fail, to ensure that plans are in place to manage the disease.

“While the Cabinet is in a state of upheaval at the moment, and many members will change when the new Cabinet is inaugurated next month, the fact remains that the current members still have a job to do and a crisis is looming which they must deal with,” he said.

He added that South Africans needed to be assured that a strategy was in place, and government needed to make it clear what steps were being taken.

“Other than adding links to a few articles from Wikipedia and the BBC to its website, the Department of Health has done nothing to demonstrate to South Africans that action is being taken.”

“Swine fever has been declared a public health emergency in the United States, where several cases have been reported. Other countries where no cases have yet been reported have imposed travel bans or made plans to quarantine air travellers. In contrast, South Africa’s response has been muted.”

South Africa was a long physical distance from the outbreak, but it would take only one passenger arriving on a long-haul flight to let loose an outbreak here.

“The Department of Health clearly has a job to do in making sure that health staff, as well as ordinary South Africans, know what the symptoms are and know how to respond if there is a suspected case of swine fever, and in ensuring that South Africa has adequate stocks of medications that have been shown to be effective,” Waters said

He added that the Department of Home Affairs should be alerting border officials to the potential problem and making sure it is ready to close border posts if necessary, and Department of Transport officials should be monitoring airports and ports.

“These are the sensible precautions that other countries are taking to protect their citizens. South Africa must do the same.” 

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