Rwanda’s Ministry of Health has denied media reports that its government has closed the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, saying there was just a traffic slow-down as measures were put in place to reinforce screening procedures and public safety at entry points.
However, the Health Ministry has advised against unnecessary travels to Goma-Eastern Congo, following an increasing number of Ebola cases confirmed in DRC, and requested their citizens or other individuals who have recently travelled to an Ebola-affected area to report to the nearest screening station.
To date, Rwanda remains Ebola-free. Rwanda Health Ministry also urged citizens to report any suspected Ebola cases via the Ministry of health toll-free lines 114, police number 112 or to community health workers or the nearest health centre.
“Among key prevention measures are frequent washing of hands with clean water and soap, avoiding contact with blood and body fluids, as well as items that would have come in contact with an infected person’s blood and body fluids.
“Ebola is transmitted through blood and body fluids, including vomit, urine, saliva, sweat. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, joint pain, headache, diarrhoea, skin rash, vomiting, red eyes, stomach-ache and bleeding through different body parts,” said the Rwanda Ministry of Health in a Press Release.
The Ministry said they have a detailed National Preparedness Plan in place and has trained health workers in early detection and response, educated communities about Ebola, vaccinated health workers in high-risk areas, equipped health facilities, and continues to conduct simulation exercises to maintain a high level of readiness.
“Screening for Ebola symptoms at points of entry has been ongoing since the beginning of the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and has been reinforced since the confirmation of a case in Goma.
“An Ebola Treatment Centre was put in place and 23 isolation units are being prepared in hospitals in 15 priority districts.
“Ebola response simulation exercises are on a regular basis within the community, borders, airport and treatment Centre to test Rwanda’s preparedness in response to a case, which includes emergency Operations Centre activation, active surveillance, case management and laboratory testing,” said the Ministry.
About 3000 health workers in high-risk areas have been vaccinated as a preventative measure, including more than 1100 in Rubavu district.
To date, Rwanda has trained over 23,957 people including Doctors, Nurses, hospital staff, Community Health Workers, religious leaders, Red Cross Volunteers and security organs. Meanwhile, special ambulances are in place to handle any Ebola suspected case on time.