Tanzania: Kagera Region Put On High Ebola Alert

KAGERA Region is on a high Ebola alert following the confirmation of an outbreak of the disease in neighbouring Uganda.

Kagera Regional Commissioner (RC), Brig. Gen. (rtd), Marco Gaguti said a team of experts had been dispatched to all entry points to monitor movements, adding that a 24- hour surveillance was being conducted at all entry points.

The points are Rusumo and Kabanga, in Ngara District, Kaisho and Murongo, in Karagwe District, and Kyaka and Mutukula, in Misenyi District. Kagera Region shares borders with four neighbouring countries- Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Kenya.

People have been sensitized to take precautions by boiling drinking water and using toilets. Leaders in Misenyi, Karagwe, Muleba, Biharamulo, Kyerwa, Ngara and Bukoba districts have started distributing posters and brochures with information on Ebola symptoms to the public through Primary Health Care (PHC), Committees.

The Kagera Regional Medical Officer (RMO), Dr Marco Mbata, said the government had formed a task force comprising key stakeholders as preventive measures against the deadly virus.

The Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, revealed that the government had supplied Thermal Scanners to all main gateways of the country, including border posts, airports and ports.

Thermal Scanners are medical devices meant to detect high body temperature as a clue for Ebola. The government has enhanced its integrated disease surveillance and response system in the country's border posts that are frequently used by DRC nationals to cross into the country.

The posts are Rusumo, Kabanga and Mutukula in Kagera Region, and Lake Tanganyika ports. The government has also supplied guidelines on the transportation of test samples across the country, and supplied medical kits and drugs to all regions as a preparatory strategy.

Tanzania has not, so far, documented any case of Ebola, but authorities point out that the country was not immune from the viral disease due to the possibility of cross-border transmission.

The government is closely working with the World Health Organisation (WHO), and other international organisations responsible for health to keep the threat at bay.

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