Concerted international efforts and more effective multi-sectorial response to the Ebola outbreak, and not just funds, will help the world contain the deadly pandemic, Foreign Affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo has said.
She was speaking on Sky News in London on Tuesday days after Rwanda sent 14 medics to the Ebola-hit West African states of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea as part of international response to the virus that has killed more than 4,500 people and threatens an economic catastrophe.
“This disease requires concerted, serious and global effort because as we have seen in the last several weeks, it has travelled from West Africa to the United States, to Spain, thus the understanding that we have to fight this together,” Mushikiwabo told Sky News’ presenter Dermot Murnaghan.
She said: “This is an expensive disease to prevent so we cannot just expect the bureaucrats in our Ministries of Health to receive money from the international community and that’s the end of Ebola.”
The minister said Africa needs to learn from the current outbreak and do better in terms of preparedness by scaling up investments in health systems and structures to ensure the continent is prepared to contain similar outbreaks in the future.
“I think it is really important for us on the continent, to make sure that we look at our health systems, that we look at our structures that we have put in place because, God forbid another disease, it could be anything else if it is not Ebola, we just need to invest in preparedness,” said Mushikiwabo, who doubles as the Government Spokesperson.
On what Rwanda was doing in response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, Mushikiwabo said the government had “put together a preparedness plan that includes many sectors, that combines the Ministry of Health, local government, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, our civil aviation authorities, and army to make sure that we reach all the corners of the country to spread the right information, give tips.”
She also said that Rwanda continues to support intervention efforts in the affected countries and to work with East African neighbours to try to avert potential spread of the virus to the region.
Mushikiwabo’s remarks came a few days after the Ministry of Health released new rules, including close monitoring of people who have been to US or Spain in the past 22 days to, for three weeks – the incubation period for Ebola.
Both US and Spain have recorded Ebola deaths in recent days.
The government also moved to strengthen its preparedness at all border points while restrictions on travel from the worst affected West African countries remain in place.
Earlier this month, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Rwandan Marcel Kanyankore Rudasingwa as Ebola Crisis manager for Guinea – which registered the first case of the current outbreak – as the world moved to contain the worst Ebola outbreak ever.