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Govt might need E20m for swine flu outbreak

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MBABANE – Should there be a countrywide outbreak of swine flu in the kingdom, it is estimated that government might need around E20 million to stem the tide

The money will be used to mitigate the impact of the A (H1 N1) influenza by strengthening the readiness and response capacity. Such funds will include capacity building for management and staff in the country’s exit and entry points, training of medical practitioners, media campaigns as well as securing medication.

This is according to the Ministry of Health’s national contingency plan for the virus.

According to the contingency plan, the highest amount (E16 million) could be used in purchasing the medication as it is expected that each vaccine might cost as much as E800. The plan estimates that it might be necessary to treat as many as 5000 people per region. The accurate costs will be released once the vaccine has been developed and ready for use. At present Tami Flu is used for treatment. South Africa’s swine flu death toll has climbed to eight, as the virus spreads around the country, health authorities said on Thursday.

A 21-year-old woman in the capital Pretoria and a 38-year-old pregnant woman in the southeastern city of Port Elizabeth were the latest victims to die after contracting the A(H1N1) virus, the National Health Laboratory said in a statement.

Out of the eight confirmed swine flu deaths, three have been pregnancies, four had no underlying conditions while the other had hypertension and was diabetic, the laboratory said.

South Africa has recorded 3,485 confirmed cases of the virus, making the country the worst affected on the continent. The country’s first case was detected on June 18.

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