Ebola: SADC health ministers to meet

The ministers will meet in Gauteng to discuss the outbreak which has already claimed nearly 900 lives.

Members of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) wear protective gear at the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital in Conakry on 23 July, 2014. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Health ministers across the South African Development Community (SADC) will meet in Gauteng today, to discuss the Ebola outbreak that has claimed the lives of nearly 900 people in West Africa.

The virus started spreading in remote regions of Guinea in March before reaching parts of Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Nigeria has also recorded a few suspected cases.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi is expected to meet with his counterparts from across the SADC region in Kempton Park this afternoon, to come up with a plan of action aimed at preventing the virus from spreading even further.

Motsoaledi's spokesperson Joe Maila says although there are no cases of Ebola in South Africa, government wants to make sure it's prepared at all times.

"We wanted to make sure that we develop some plans in the event that we have a problem, we are able to respond to it immediately. The meeting will also be attended and addressed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), just to give us the developments in terms of the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa."

Meanwhile, Sierra Leone's national football association has cancelled all football matches indefinitely in the country, as health officials battle the Ebola outbreak.

The association says it will seek permission to play upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers in other countries.

It also plans to apply for health certificates from the WHO, so its home based players can travel.

Sierra Leone's Foreign Minister Samura Kamara says "Because of the potential for its contagion, it's now not only become an issue for the sub-region but also for the entire world and therefore with the state of emergency there's a greater awareness."