Editorial: Prevent or fight Ebola, don’t share the curse

The World Health Organisation has declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), the highest alarm sound.

Ebola has been in and around DRC and Uganda on and off but it has always been contained before it spread to urban centres. For the first time, it travelled southwards and a case was reported in Goma, a sprawling city of about two million bordering Rwanda.

It is the first time it has gotten close to Rwanda, but as it has been always the case, Rwanda is always on its toes for any eventual threat on its people, health-wise or otherwise.

A few years ago when the Avian Flu was causing havoc in Asia, travellers entering Rwanda would fill a special form indicating the regions they had just visited, and those who had gone through Avian Flu-afflicted countries were given special attention.

The same attention has been given to Ebola, the public has been sensitized and all necessary measures have been put in place at all entry points.

So it is quite puzzling when people try to associate Rwanda with Ebola. If it is not headlines like “Ebola outbreak in eastern DRC close to Rwanda”, yet it is Butembo or Bunia in northeastern DRC, nowhere near Rwanda.

The latest was that a woman infected by the disease had passed through Rwanda which was reported by a Canadian publication quoting the Ugandan Ministry of Health. WHO also quoted the same source before pulling down the news on its website.

The question is; why do people want to share their plight with their neighbours instead of doing all they can to look after their own. Rwanda is looking after its own.