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Kenya Red Cross prepares staff over Ebola outbreak

28 October 2014, 08:00

Nairobi - The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) said on Monday it has put its personnel in a state of readiness to handle any possible occurrence of Ebola outbreak in the country.

KRCS Secretary General Abbas Gullet said the society has trained its staff on dead body management and disposal to address any cases that may arise.

"Even though the Ebola crisis is a fundamental responsibility of respective governments worldwide, the Kenya Red Cross Societies is ready to play a complimentary and supportive role," Gullet told a forum in Nairobi.

"Red Cross volunteers have been responsible for dead body management and public education in the Ebola-torn countries, and locally, we have put in order organs on the ground if... we get into such a situation," Gullet said.

Gullet was speaking during the opening session of the International Committee of Red Cross Global Communication Forum that has drawn over 150 delegates from over 70 ICRC national affiliates across the globe.

The forum is building on the experience of previous global communication meetings, including the last one in 2011 in Geneva, as well as one in 2008 in Washington DC, and is being hosted in Africa for the first time.

Also read: Kenya rules out Ebola case following scare at airport

The Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Amina Mohammed said the 12 Kenyans who have been stranded in Liberia following the outbreak of Ebola will arrive home on Tuesday after being marooned in the country for two months.

Mohammed said plans have been finalized to receive the 12 from the Ebola-ravaged nation after their evacuation became difficult following Kenya Airways' decision to stop plying the West Africa route.

The move comes as Kenya has embarked on a campaign through the print and electronic media to sensitize Kenyans on the Ebola epidemic and its preventative measures as the deadly fever continues to take its toll.

Besides the sensitization campaign, the Ministry of Health has prepared isolation facilities and conducted trainings to 10,000 health workers across the country to respond to possible Ebola outbreak.

The UN World Health Organization (WHO) has included Kenya in the list of countries at risk given its strategic position as a major transport hub.

According to the ministry, major referral hospitals including the Kenyatta national hospital and other regional hospitals have prepared isolations wards to deal with any outbreaks of the disease in the country.

It said the 10,000 health workers have been trained with an additional 10,000 expected to be trained by end of November.

ICRC Director of Communication and Information Management, Charlotte Lindsey Curtet, said the meeting accords an opportunity to ensure the Movement's components continue to work more closely together towards shared communication aims.

"This is also a platform to foster engagement in global initiatives within the Movement and agree on a common set of deliverables and basic workflow during disasters and crises in order to display a strong and united Movement to external audiences towards timely support on behalf of the most vulnerable people," Curtet said.

International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) Head of Communication Pierre Kremer said the over 17 million volunteers and potential beneficiaries need to speak with one voice for a common goal instead of many incoherent voices from many quarters.

 - Xinhua

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