Zanzibar Enhances Preparedness Against Spread of Communicable Diseases at Unguja and Pemba Entry Points

Today the Ministry of Trade and Industrial Development, in partnership with TradeMark Africa (TMA), delivered hand and walk-through thermal scanners to be installed at Zanzibar’s ports and airports in Unguja and Pemba. Today’s symbolic handover will improve the efficiency of port health officials who will be able to screen both embarking and disembarking passengers. This is part of TradeMark ’s wider support for mitigation measures against the spread of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases, ensuring continuous trade in Eastern and Southern Africa borders under its Safe Trade Emergency Facility Programme.

Funded by development partners from the United Kingdom, Ireland and Norway through TradeMark, a total of 14 walk through thermal scanners and 305 hand thermal scanners worth USD 297,561, will be distributed and installed at the  ports and airports. Currently, there is ongoing training of Port Health officials on how to maintain and operate the equipment.

Present at the handover ceremony, Zanzibar’s Minister of Trade and Industrial Developmen Hon. Omar Shaaban, thanked TradeMark for their support to the Government’s efforts to not only fight COVID-19 but also the outbreak of Ebola and other communicable disease, saying; “. The installation of walkthrough and hand thermal scanners at ports and airports will strengthen our Government’s efforts towards making our borders safe and open for trade. Tourism is the main source of livelihood in Zanzibar,making  frontline workers and the larger Zanzibarian community vulnerable to communicable diseases.Protection of all border personnel and the community at large is paramount.”

The procurement of these equipment is a key component of TradeMark’s Safe Trade Emergency Facility (STEF) programme, that was launched to respond to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic which hit Eastern and Southern Africa’s border crossing points, causing some of the worst disruptions in history. Entry points are a main vector of human transmission diseases from one country to another. In response, governments have adopted mandatory screening and testing of passenger’s/visitors at point of entries, yet entry points have shortages of screening facilitates/equipment. The procurement of these equipment resulted from the consultation with the Ministry of Industry and Trade Development and Ministry of health.

TMA Country Director for the Tanzania Country Programme, Monica Hangi said, ‘’TMA is committed to supporting staff working at entry points, the border users and the community at large, to ensure health compliant and safe trade in the region.’’ She noted that the support is critical to facilitate the safe continuation of trading activities while protecting livelihoods.

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