Ministry of Health warns against church crusades over Ebola

By IGIHE
On 5 August 2019 at 10:24

The Minister of Health, Dr. Diane Gashumba has warned some church leaders inviting followers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to attend gospel crusades in Rwanda calling it nonconformity to Ebola prevention measures.

Gashumba made the warning yesterday during Car Free Day held and called on Rwandans to stand against whatever could lead to spreading the Ebola virus to Rwanda.

Held twice a month, Car Free Day is an exercise held in Kigali city where residents engage in physical activities and get a free medical checkup after.

The exercise was introduced two years ago by Kigali City Council, in partnership with Rwanda Biomedical Centre, in a bid to promote a healthy lifestyle.

“People are nowadays deviating from agreed Ebola prevention measures putting at risk the lives of many people. We have been seeing people intending to cross the border to attend gospel crusades especially in this August,” she said.

“We requested church leaders and followers not to neglect set up Ebola prevention measures because it puts people’s lives at risk. These crusades can be organized later and invited fellows again when the Ebola outbreak is no longer reported in the neighboring country,” added Gashumba.

She revealed that no person has been spotted with Ebola in Rwanda but noted that the problem lies in people crossing to DRC who might get contaminated and spread it to the country.

Gashumba appealed citizens against unnecessary travels to Ebola-affected areas and urged churches to stop sending informal invitations for gospel crusades.

Over 1800 people have died of Ebola in DRC since August last year. The first case of Ebola was reported in Goma on 14th July 2019 where the infected patient died within 24 hours. Since then, three people have died of Ebola in the town within 15 days.

The Ministry has advised against unnecessary travels to Goma-Eastern Congo, following increasing number of cases confirmed in DRC, and requested that individuals who have recently travelled to an Ebola-affected area to report to the nearest screening station and 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, diarrhea, skin rash, vomiting, red eyes, stomach-ache and bleeding through different body parts.

Rwanda has 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.

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.

Gashumba made the warning during Car Free Day held and called on Rwandans to stand against whatever could lead to spreading the Ebola virus to Rwanda.
Car Free Day is an exercise held in Kigali city where residents engage in physical activities and get a free medical checkup after.
Gashumba appealed citizens against unnecessary travels to Ebola-affected areas
Gashumba asked churches to stop sending informal invitations for gospel crusades.

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