24 May 2019

East Africa: EAC Want States to Stop Pread of Deadly Ebola

Photo: Huster/MSF
A team that has just finished setting up a tent in the high-risk zone in the Ebola treatment centre, getting out of their personal protective equipment (PPE). It’s hard work, and harder still in such attire. Photographer: Karin

Dar es Salaam — The East African Community (EAC) warned ebola remained a major threat to the region and asked countries to prepare to stop the spread of the deadly hemorrhagic fever that has so far claimed over 1, 000 lives in DR Congo.

"Ebola remains a major threat to the health and socio-economic well being to the people of the East African Community (EAC) bloc", EAC said in a statement yesterday.

The EAC warned on the dire consequences to agriculture,trade and tourism "and the lives and livelihoods of people" should the disease spill in from DRC.

Currently no confirmed case of Ebola has been reported in the EAC although there have been unconfirmed reports of unspecified cases in Uganda.

The statement said the region must prepare well to stop the killer disease spilling within its borders.

"The region needs to be prepared and the on-going efforts to operationalise national and regional contigency plans needs to be strengthened", said a statement availed to The Citizen.

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The region has, however, been subjected to Rift Valley, Malrburg and Crimean Congo fevers, Cholera, Polio and Plague, among others.

In a bid to counter any threat posed by Ebola and other diseases, the EAC plans to organize a field simulation exercise (FSX) aims to assess the region's preparedness and response capacities.

The exercise will take place at the Namanga border town next month and, according to the EAC secretariat, will mimic an outbreak of a major disease.

About 250 people from both sides of the Tanzania/Kenya border are expected to participate in the day long exercise.

"The event simulates an outbreak of an infectious disease from 11th to 14th June 2019 at the border between Tanzania and Kenya", the regional body said.

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