East African ministers resolve to mitigate spread of Ebola
18 September 2014, 10:45
Nairobi - Ministers of health, transport and immigration from five eastern African countries on Wednesday vowed to strengthen measures that would prevent spread of Ebola virus in the region.
The ministers said in a joint communique that their governments will harmonize interventions to mitigate Ebola transmission as the risk profile spiked due to human traffic from affected regions.
"Rapid spread of Ebola has necessitated adoption of a common approach to prevent the spread of this disease to the region," said Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Health, James Macharia, during a regional ministerial summit on emergency response to Ebola in Nairobi.
The high level meeting was attended by ministers for health, immigration, transport, security and trade to discuss new strategies to prevent spread of Ebola.
So far, no east African country has reported an Ebola case though the region is vulnerable to transmission due to its proximity to the Equatorial forest.
Officials warned that weak health systems, poverty and disjointed response have exposed east African countries to the threat of Ebola.
"It is evident that great investments and resources are required to execute Ebola preparedness and response plans. There is need for us to show political leadership and develop a common strategy to contain Ebola," Macharia said.
The east African community member states have fast-tracked the establishment of a joint action plan to respond effectively to Ebola.
Jesca Eriyo , Deputy Secretary General of the East African Community, revealed that a regional contingency plan is in place to enhance response to Ebola.
Also read: French nurse for MSF contracts Ebola in Liberia
"Several regional forums have taken place since Ebola was declared an international health emergency. We have addressed capacity gaps and resources to strengthen deterrent measures," Eriyo said, adding that governments in the region endorsed joint programs to boost Ebola surveillance at ports of entry.