Rwanda’s Minister of Health, Dr Diane Gashumba and her Congolese counterpart, Pierre Kangudia Mbayi, met Tuesday to discuss joint strategies to prevent the spread of Ebola.
More than 1,600 people have died of Ebola in DR Congo since the outbreak began in August 2018.
The second-largest Ebola outbreak ever recorded has recently spread to DR Congo’s border city of Goma close to the Rwandan border, prompting rapid response teams to swing into action to prevent further transmission.
Kangudia and his delegation, which is also comprised of World Health Organisation officials, arrived from Kinshasa earlier in the day and travelled to Rubavu by road from Goma.
Their meeting was held at Lake Kivu Serena Hotel in Rubavu.
“They are here after our Minister invited them, to discuss joint strategies to prevent Ebola from spreading in our two countries as well as the region. He [Kangudia] is here with a big delegation that includes senior WHO officials now based in North Kivu,” Malick Kayumba, the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, said shortly before the meeting started.
Earlier, Kayumba said, the Ministers visited the main border crossings between Rubavu and Goma to assess for themselves measures put in place to prevent the spread of Ebola.
Kangudia’s trip is a one-day visit, Kayumba said.
According to the WHO, the risk of national Ebola spread is high which why they have been doing intensive preparedness work in Goma so that any new case is identified and responded to immediately.
End last month, a few days after the first case of Ebola was detected in Goma, the WHO called the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), urging the international community to step up its support.
PHEIC is a formal declaration by the UN agency in charge of world health matters of an extraordinary event, which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other states through the international spread of disease.
Rwanda has embarked on robust community awareness and mobilisation, vaccination of frontline workers, creating EVD treatment centres, and stepping up surveillance.