13 August 2014

Africa: WHO Urges Greater Kenya Scrutiny Over Ebola

Photo: Samaritans Purse
An outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa has claimed hundreds of lives (file photo).

Nairobi — The government has assured of intensified screening measures in all entry points to curb Ebola transmission in the country.

Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia on Wednesday said President Uhuru Kenyatta has also demanded to know the steps the health ministry is taking in curbing the deadly disease that is ravaging West Africa.

Macharia said Kenya cannot afford to play around with the matter since JKIA receives 76 flights weekly from West Africa.

He has ruled out banning flights from affected countries, saying it will not help because people can still cross the borders.

"We do not recommend ban of flights because of porous borders."

He spoke at a forum with the World Health Organisation (WHO) which has emphasised the need for Kenya to take the matter seriously, being a connection hub in the region.

WHO Country Director Custodia Mandlhate says Kenya has been classified under Group 2 meaning it is at high risk of transmission.

"Kenya is classified in group two; at high risk of transmission," the director said.

Mandlhate said the screening effort that is being undertaken is therefore a good idea.

The World Health Organization authorised the use of experimental drugs to fight Ebola as the death toll topped 1,000, with a Spanish priest becoming the first European to succumb to the outbreak.

The declaration by the UN's health agency came late Tuesday after a US company that makes an experimental serum called ZMapp said it had sent all its available supplies to hard-hit West Africa.

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