Screening for Ebola begins at Tunduma boarder as death toll in DRC

16May 2018
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Screening for Ebola begins at Tunduma boarder as death toll in DRC

THE government has started to screen all the visitors crossing to the country via the Tunduma boarder in southern highland zone following recent outbreak of Ebola in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Songwe Regional Commissioner, Chiku Galawa told journalists that regional authority in collaboration with the safety and security committee has intensified checks at the border as well as ensuring the screening of all visitors.

“We are screening every single visitor crossing to Tanzania, anyone who will be diagnosed with Ebola symptoms will not be allowed to enter the country,” said Galawa

The RC called upon residents to take to hospitals or health centres any person displaying symptoms of Ebola disease which she says has since killed 21 people.

“We have put in place strategies to protect our people against Ebola. We have prepared the ‘National Ebola and Maburg Preparedness and Response Contingency Plan,” the RC noted adding the government had dispatched health officers at the border.

Ebola cases in DRC have been confirmed in the town of Bikoro located in the north-western part of the country. This comes more than a year after an outbreak in the country killed four people.

According to the DRC government, recent Ebola outbreaks have so far caused 17 deaths. In 2014, more than 11,000 people were killed in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

"Our top priority is to get to Bikoro to work alongside the government," the WHO said in a statement yesterday.

"Working with partners and responding early and in a coordinated way will be vital to containing this deadly disease."

The international health organisation said to respond to the emergency it had released USD 1m/- from an emergency fund and deployed more than 50 experts to work with officials in the DRC.

This is the ninth time an Ebola outbreak has been recorded in the DR Congo. The virus was first discovered there in 1976 when the country was known as Zaire and is named after the Ebola River.

The 2014 outbreak caused a major health scare in Africa, forcing countries to install special scanners at border points, including airports. It extended its reach from West African countries to Spain and the United States, raising red flag in many continents.

Although West Africa was the worst-hit part of Africa, businesses on the continent suffered big time as many countries in Europe, America and Asia issued travel advisories discouraging their citizens from travelling to the continent.

On the other hand, Africans travelling to other continents had a rough time since many countries abroad regard the vast continent of Africa as one ‘country’ especially when faced with a challenge like the Ebola outbreak.

Major airports in the world were fitted with special scanners to measure body temperatures of arriving and connecting passengers who originated from or passed through Africa.

With high fever being one of the first symptoms to appear, testing body temperature is considered as the quickest and most effective way of identifying infected travelers. This led to logistical nightmares for many airport authorities in the world.

Tanzanian health authorities were not available for comment on the current Ebola outbreak in the neighbouring country.