On October 31, Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo summoned all diplomats accredited to Rwanda.
She requested they travel with her to the Rwanda–Burundi border, Southern Rwanda. The purpose of which was concealed.
They were driven in buses in a 3-hour journey to the border, and screened for Ebola before proceeding to usual border process.
The scenario’s intent, said Dr. Ovberedjo Martins, the World Health Organization (WHO) Representative, was to demonstrate Rwanda’s preparedness against Ebola. “They proved to us first hand that Rwanda is prepared.”
Dr. Ovberedjo told KT Press: “Every diplomat was satisfied with the level of preparedness in Rwanda.”
Earlier in the same month, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, while addressing parliament, said, “Ebola is not an African problem, but a global challenge.”
He instructed Health and Local Government ministries to build a strong system to prevent any eventuality from the Ebola epidemic.
Thousands of health workers have since been mobilized and trained, with surveillance and emergency management system enabling timely detection and response.
A specialized team — medical doctors and ten nurses trained on Ebola — has been stationed at KigaliInternational Airport. Thousands of others are deployed across the country, with maximum vigilance.
A 300-bed equipped isolation center has also been established, in case of an emergency. A toll free line, 114, has been established for citizens to report any possible case.
The Rwanda Defense Forces and police units conduced simulation drills over the weekend to test Rwanda’sreadiness against Ebola.
In August, a German medical student visited Rwanda from Liberia, fell sick; ten days later he reported toRwanda’s biggest referral hospital, King Faisal, complaining of fever, diarrhea and weakness, symptoms associated with Ebola.
He was quarantined and tested negative, but was recovering from malaria.
Meanwhile, the US envoy to Rwanda, Donald W. Koran, met the country’s Premier requesting Rwandaprovide medical assistance to Ebola-hit West Africa. Rwanda is still contemplating on the matter.
Rwanda’s national carrier, RwandAir, which operates busy flights to West Africa, has its staff trained to maintain high safety standards.
People entering Rwanda that have in the last 22 days traveled to Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leoneare screened and monitored for 21 days.
WHO has hired Rwandan medics to help develop an Ebola vaccine from Geneva, Switzerland.
By: Patrick Bigabo