25 August 2014

Congo-Kinshasa: Govt Strengthens Measures As Ebola Hits DRC

The ministry of health has assured the public that various preventive measures are in place following confirmed ebola cases in the DRC.

This comes in addition to the ebola outbreak in West Africa, but Congolese and World Health Organization officials have confirmed that the DRC cases are not linked to those in West Africa.

In 2012, ebola killed 36 people in the DRC. Since the country has borders with nine others, failure to manage the virus there would entail a high risk of it spreading across the region, including to Rwanda.

However, Minisante cautioned the public not to panic as surveillance has been strengthened within the community and at all points of entry including all border posts in the country as well as airports.

The health ministry also indicates that referral hospitals, district hospitals and other health facilities are well equipped and staff has been trained to handle ebola cases. National emergency preparedness teams have put in place actions for preparedness and elaborated plans to prevent any potential health risks.

The ministry also calls on people to immediately seek medical care in case of any sickness, and has also installed a hotline 114 for any inquiry regarding ebola.

As for travel, Minisante advises people to avoid any unnecessary travel to the affected countries.

In addition, all passengers must go through the screening processes for ebola prevention set up at all border posts. Any passenger with a fever of 37.5C and above will not be allowed to enter Rwanda.

Returning residents will be requested to stay at an isolation facility at the border posts for further medical checks and consistent follow up by health professionals accredited by the Ministry of Health, up to clearance as per the Ministry of Health Protocol.

The ministry of health strongly recommends that all passengers coming from Guinea-Conakry, Liberia and Sierra Leone or anyone who has travelled to those countries within the last 22 days be stopped from boarding flights to Rwanda or to enter Rwanda by any means of transport. An exception is only provided for passengers with special authorization signed by Minisante.

Over 1400 people succumbed to ebola this year in West-African countries. Last week a suspected case in Rwanda was found negative.

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