At the time of going to press, Mexico had recorded 149 deaths of people diagnosed to have been killed by the Swine flu as cases of the virulent disease continued to rise around the world.
Cases were also reported in Australia, Canada, USA, and in some European countries. No cases had been reported on the African continent yet.
Reports that the Rwandan government is watching out for the swine influenza or swine flu are more than welcome. As the old adage goes, “prevention is better than cure.”
If developed countries with all the high-tech medical equipment and health personnel to take care of any health crisis, are worried about the disastrous impact of the swine flu - then the challenge is upon us to put our act together.
Which is what makes the current level of preparedness by the Ministry of Health and relevant departments, to tackle the swine influenza, commendable.
Public fears are allayed by the Government’s announcement that it is more than ready to catch this type of influenza before it catches us.
According to the Director General of Trac Plus, Prof. Michael Kramer, we were prepared as early as last year (2008) to deal with threats of such a nature.
Rwanda established a sentinel-surveillance system – a monitoring or reporting method for Avian Influenza which diagnoses such diseases and a National Reference Laboratory in four main hospitals around the country.
Preparedness has also included, teams in district hospitals being trained on how to assess patients, take specimen and respond accordingly in case of an emergency.
It is however important to warn that Rwanda being prepared to deal with the swine influenza should it come our way, is not enough if our neighbouring countries do not have similar measures in place.
So we hope that there is serious collaboration taking place among relevant stakeholders, within the region and beyond. The public is also warned to exercise high levels of hygiene. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, and diarrhea.