HIGH ALERT

Health workers at border posts to prevent Ebola

170 health workers who went to West Africa to help contain Ebola will offer expertise at entry points, airports

In Summary

• The 170 went to Sierra Leone and Liberia in January 2015 as part of the African Union mission to contain Ebola in West Africa. 

• The team will help at airports to detect people who may have been infected by the outbreak in the DRC.

Health CS Sicily Kariuki during the Health and Security Conference at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies on May 16
EBOLA PREPAREDNESS: Health CS Sicily Kariuki during the Health and Security Conference at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies on May 16
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

Kenyan health workers who helped contain the Ebola epidemic in West Africa will be deployed to Kenya's border posts and airports.

The 170 workers went to Sierra Leone and Liberia in January 2015 as part of the African Union mission to contain Ebola in West Africa.

They returned in June last year.

The current outbreak in the DRC has claimed at least 1,000 lives and many people are infected.

Kenya and Uganda are on high alert following an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo amid fears its spread could hurt the tourism and travel industry.

The Health ministry is screening all travellers at entry points including JKIA, Busia and Malaba.

Thermal 'guns' have been installed at border posts to detect any person with elevated temperatures.

Health CS Sicily Kariuki said on Thursday the team will offer their expertise and help avoid any outbreak.

“Preparedness means addressing the causes of vulnerabilities that allow outbreaks to take communities by surprise,” Kariuki said.

“These health care workers have the requisite experience to handle health security threats.” 

Kariuki said the Ministry of Health is still implementing the Field Epidemiology Training Programme producing 15 field epidemiologists every year.

They ensure the surveillance of diseases and cross-border threats across the country and provide technical expertise.

Graduates of these programmes have the skills to collect, analyse and interpret disease information, using evidence to take quick action and save lives.

“In this era of global travel, trade and commerce, we are all equally exposed; there is no single way of eliminating the risk but there are ways that we can all be better prepared,” she said.

Upon their return, President Uhuru Kenyatta instructed that any volunteer who is not permanently employed be given a job as a show of appreciation.

Uhuru said the example set by the medical volunteers would inspire many Kenyans to rise to the occasion and help in finding solutions.

 

The disease causes fever, flu-like pains, bleeding, vomiting and diarrhoea and is transmitted through blood, vomit, diarrhoea and other bodily fluids.

(Edited by R.Wamochie)