Sometimes we forget exactly where we live. As we work, eat, live and sleep in a city that perpetually grows in leaps and bounds, in a land that is often well-working and organized, it is possible to not see the chaos around us.But danger does lie beyond the hanging clouds along the hills of Rwanda.As of press time, 166 have been killed by Ebola virus, the world’s most fatal and potent, in the Western Kasai province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Uganda too has been stricken with the disease, beginning in 2000 north of Gulu, near LRA operations. Its cousin virus, Marburg, broke out there as well in 2007.
And this is not the first time the Congo has felt Ebola. It has been occurring for some time.
First appearing in 1975, the most serious outbreak was in 1995, just after the Rwandan Genocide.
At its worst the disease kills over 90 per cent of the victims it infects.
Although no reports this time have come out of Uganda, there have been outbreaks all over the Congo of the killer disease that is hard to isolate.
When it comes to the dices of life, Rwanda should not let them be rolled by someone else. Proactive, defensive measures are immediately necessary so that no virus crosses over to us.
The borders at Cyangugu/Bukavu and Gisenyi/Goma must be put on heightened alert. Those entering Rwanda and originating from Western Kasai must be minutely screened, perhaps requiring written identification. All it takes is one bus-ride, one airplane trip, and the disease is within us.
Viruses spread quickly in the Congo these days; it is necessary to protect against the killers. We can do this with knowledge, communication and most importantly, obeying laws that provide for our care and safety.
We must appreciate the country in and for which we live. Malaria is a problem we are constantly, passionately fighting. Health and safety measures, at the very least in legal structure, are abundant. True care of this lifestyle must be defended, fortified, and thus preserved.