The Minister for Defence, Maj. Gen. Albert Murasira, has pledged the government’s support in planning, preventing and protecting fellow African countries from disease outbreak.
Murasira was addressing representatives from 25 countries who are meeting in Kigali for the 7th African Partner Outbreak Response Alliance (APORA) Key Leader Conference, which is discussing how best they can collectively prevent, detect, and contain disease outbreaks.
The four-day meeting is being hosted by Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) through Rwanda Military Hospital, in partnership with the United States Air Force Africa.
“In military institutions, we value preparedness and this alliance is very welcome because it serves our mission, coming together as one whether there is an outbreak or not, to plan together, prevent together and protect together; we commend this alliance,” he said.
He pointed out that hosting this conference is a big milestone as far as health and security is concerned since the safety of the nation’s people comes first.
“Today, having 25 countries coming together for preparedness and protection as one makes us feel proud of where the security of Africa is headed. In the past we have experienced that whenever we join forces no enemy can be impossible to defeat,” he said.
In her remarks, the Minister of Health, Dr. Diane Gashumba, said that the conference comes at a time when African countries are coming together as one in many fields adding that this alliance would serve as a solution to many healthcare issues affecting the continent.
“This alliance shows the good will of African countries as well as our partners from other countries to come together as one to prevent and fight any disease that may rise to destroy our public health systems,” she said.
APORA was formed in response to the Ebola outbreak which claimed over 11,000 lives in Africa from 2014 to 2016.
It originally began as a military event but has since opened up to include civilian partner agencies. The alliance also uses the Global Health Agenda to inform and shape their activities.
Late last year, the Ministry of Health and Rwanda Military Hospital held an Ebola simulation exercise (SIMEX) to ensure preparedness in case of any emergency outbreak.
The exercise, dubbed “Kumira Ebola Simulation Exercise” SIMEX, was held at the Rwanda Military Hospital in Kanombe.
The medical simulation exercise tested RDF medical service personnel and other stakeholders on the readiness and general conduct in case of an Ebola outbreak in Rwanda.