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SADC responds to Listeriosis

Southern African Development Community (SADC) ministers of health have agreed on a course of action to mitigate the outbreak of Listeriosis in the region.

This action includes the harmonisation, procedures of prevention, detection and response across the region.

This will see SADC member states working together to strengthen inter-ministerial actions at border posts, inter-sectoral and multi-sectoral co-ordination, effective communication in public health as well as hazard risk assessments for the outbreak.

“We have called on the [SADC] Secretariat to facilitate experience sharing and information exchange between member states. We have also requested the support of international and regional partners like the World Health Organisation to support capacity building for member states,” said Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi.

The Minister was speaking in his capacity as the chair of SADC Health Ministers at a meeting in Gauteng. The meeting also looked at preventing a trans-border outbreak of listeriosis.

An outbreak of the food-borne disease was identified in June 2017 in South Africa and has claimed 180 lives while 940 listeriosis cases have been reported in the country.

The regional ministers also agreed to strengthen the control of food industries in terms of compliance to food safety standards, as well as the enforcement of policies that are aligned to international codes as well as public education of the disease. 

SADC member countries comprise Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.