Health experts have argued that Zimbabwe’s only chance at stopping the monkeypox outbreak is by strengthening its surveillance and monitoring systems.
Monkeypox, an infection caused by a virus in the same family as the smallpox virus, is fast spreading across the world.
It is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with material contaminated with the virus.
It is far less severe than smallpox, though it causes a similar illness that involves flu-like symptoms and a rash accompanied by lesions.
Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike said the government should strengthen surveillance and increase awareness of the virus. He told NewsDay Zimbabwe:
Government should work with other health stakeholders in providing education, information and awareness campaigns on monkeypox instead of the current situation where people are relying on social media platforms and their peers risking the rise in misinformation and disinformation just like what happened with COVID-19.
Government needs to urgently respond to the WHO declaration of monkeypox as a public health emergency of international concern. The urgent call issued by WHO is as a result of an escalation of monkeypox cases representing a global threat.
The only way the struggling public health delivery services in Zimbabwe can stop and manage the monkeypox outbreak is by strengthening our surveillance and monitoring systems.
Medical and Dental Private Practitioners Association of Zimbabwe president Johannes Marisa said Zimbabwe can succeed in preventing the spread of monkeypox by employing public health measures like masking up, hand washing and sanitisation and vaccinations.
He added that the country, however, will face challenges in therapeutics as it has limited resources at the moment coupled with a massive brain drain in the health sector.