Rwanda, DR Congo Agree on Joint Mechanism to Fight Ebola Outbreak

Photo: New Times
Rwandan schools have implemented hand washing campaign to stave off Ebola threat.

Rwanda and Congo on Wednesday discussed and agreed on joint mechanisms for prevention and control of Ebola virus.

This follows a visit by Théo Ngwabidje, Governor of the Southern Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Alphonse Munyantwali, Governor of the Western Province to Bukavu region in Congo on Wednesday.

The visit was part of efforts to strengthen cross border cooperation in regards to Ebola surveillance and continue ensuring free movement of people between both provinces.

According to a joint communique signed by both parties, Rwanda and Congo agreed to increase regular communication aimed at addressing issues of mutual interests.

This includes sharing lists of people who have been in contact with Ebola victims or suspected cases.

The two countries further committed to ensuring free movement of people and goods between the two provinces as well as ensuring that epidemic surveillance measures are implemented in order to prevent the spread of the Ebola Virus as specified by the joint technical teams.

On August 6th, the two countries through the respective ministries of health agreed to set up a joint roadmap for cross-border activities aimed at combating the Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic.

This was in response to the death of more than 1,600 people Ebola in DR Congo since the outbreak began in August 2018.

Among the aspects of the joint roadmap was establishing a cross-border consultation framework, common mechanisms for the prevention and case management of including surveillance, sharing information, vaccination and case management.

This would allow for the smooth movement of people and goods across the borders without raising their vulnerability.

Ebola was in July declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), calling on the international community to step up its support.

PHEIC is a formal declaration by the UN agency in charge of world health matters of an extraordinary event, which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other states through the international spread of disease.

Beyond the measures set up by the joint mechanism, Rwanda is in talks to acquire at least 100,000 doses of an Ebola vaccine for a mass vaccination campaign that targets traders around the country's border with DR Congo.

The World Health Organisation last week announced that they now have an Ebola vaccine that is more than 97 per cent effective and treatments that are more than 90 per cent effective if used early enough.

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