NAIROBI. Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Sunday called on border entry officials to maintain vigilance to prevent the spread of Ebola virus in the region.
Executive Secretary for the IGAD, Mahboub Maalim expressed concern of the epidemic which has been declared a healthy emergency by the UN World Health Organization (WHO). “The IGAD appealed to all health authorities, as well as educational and media channels to provide necessary information on protective measures using all spoken languages in the region,” Maalim said in a statement issued in Nairobi on Sunday. The move comes as member state Kenya on Saturday temporarily suspended entry of passengers travelling from and through Ebola affected West African countries. Other IGAD members include Uganda, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Sudan and South Sudan.
Maalim said the region was concerned about the possibility of Ebola transmission from West Africa to the Horn of Africa. “We support efforts being made by various governments, the African Union and other partners to contain the outbreak,” he said, lauding the remarkable work of healthcare workers in the affected countries of West Africa. He further appealed to the scientific research and pharmaceutical community to expedite the process of developing a vaccine to mitigate the epidemic. The WHO has made a number of recommendations for countries looking to stop transmission of the disease, for states with potential cases and for states that are not currently affected but are seeking to reduce the risk of exposure. The virulent disease has spread rapidly in the West African region thanks to disjointed response, poor health infrastructure and cultural practices. Health officials have warned the east African region is vulnerable to an Ebola outbreak due to human migration and tropical weather.