Rwanda better equipped to handle epidemics, health officials say

Rwanda will soon have its own experts for mitigating and containing epidemics and infectious diseases, health officials have said, citing training of many medics and specialists.
Dr Binagwaho talks to journalists in Kigali yesterday.  The New Times/ J. Mbanda.
Dr Binagwaho talks to journalists in Kigali yesterday. The New Times/ J. Mbanda.

Rwanda will soon have its own experts for mitigating and containing epidemics and infectious diseases, health officials have said, citing training of many medics and specialists.

The specialists have built capacity in disease surveillance, outbreak response and programme evaluation, officials said.

During the first national field epidemiology conference in Kigali, yesterday, Prof. Jean Baptiste Kakoma, the director of the National University of Rwanda, said more than 30 of the trainees will be holding Masters Degree with specialisation in Field Epidemiology.

Dr Agnes Binagwaho, the minister of Health, said the group will help protect the country, especially against epidemics such as cholera and Ebola, among others.

She said the medics have the knowledge and expertise in mitigating epidemic crises, noting that so far, Rwanda has managed to handle epidemics whenever there are outbreaks in neighbouring countries.

“About 35 medics have been trained and now hold masters degree, while more than 300 have also gotten short courses with specialisation in this field. With such experts, we shall be able to contain and handle any epidemics,” Dr Binagwaho said.

She said having specialists who hold a masters degree is a big achievement for the country since three years ago, there were only short-course training graduates.

The  training programme was established two years ago  by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with NUR School of Public Health to build public health capacity in disease surveillance, outbreak response and programme evaluation.

The specialilists include doctors, veterinarians and public health specialists.

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