Rwanda, in an attempt to stop Ebola from spreading across its border from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is taking extra measures. Its minister of health met with DR Congo’s health minister to agree on a plan of action to can curtail the further spread of the epidemic.

 A communique released shortly after the meeting said they agreed to establish a cross-border consultation framework, common mechanisms for the prevention and case management including surveillance, sharing information, vaccination and case management. Rwanda has also embarked on the following activities: community awareness, vaccination of front-line workers, create EVD treatment centers, and step up its surveillance.

Since the latest outbreak was discovered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo a year ago, the disease has killed at least 1,800 people. In mid-July, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a public health emergency of international concern. It called on government, partners, and communities to bear more of the burden, work hand in hand with the DRC to end the outbreak and build a better health system. 

Meanwhile, a few days ago, Rwanda closed its border for several hours to stop Ebola from spreading. The action took effect after a third case of the deadly virus was detected in the border city of Goma. President Felix Tshisekedi’s office criticized Rwanda officials action, saying that they did not consider its effect on both citizens who daily cross the border for different reasons. Rwanda later re-opened its border and allowed monitored crossing.

Goma is a border city of Congo that shares Rwanda border in the city of Gisenyi. Goma, a major transport hub has a population of 2 million. Some of its residents work in Gisenyi and as such, use the border daily. Same applies to Gisenyi with 85,000 populations. Its residents work in Goma and as such requires frequent border movement.

The Death Record in Goma

The first Ebola-related death in Goma was reported on July 16, 2019. The victim was an evangelical preacher who had travelled from Goma to Butembo to preach and pray with worshipers. He was said to regularly touch worshipers, the sick included. At the end of the assignment, he returned to Goma by bus, further increasing the possibility of the virus spread before his death.

The second is an artisan miner who came from Ituri, a province of confirmed numerous cases. He died on Wednesday, 31st July 2019 having infected his one-year-old daughter. She was the third detected case and the first direct transmission of the epidemic in Goma.

Just yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) online Ebola dashboard record shows that DRC has confirmed 7 more Ebola cases. The outbreak cases now total 2,781.  17 more people are dead from the infection raising the fatality total to 1,866.

Congo Ebola outbreak is the second deadliest recorded in history with Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia 2014-2016 cases leading with 11,000 deaths.

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