NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 31 – Ikolomani Member of Parliament Boni Khalwale has asked for a ministerial statement from Public Health Minister Beth Mugo on Kenya’s preparedness after an Ebola outbreak in Uganda killed at least 14 people.
The MP wants the minister to confirm the number of screening centres that have been opened at the border points between Kenya and Uganda including airports and how the concerned departments have been mobilised.
He also wants her to state what specific advice the government was giving to Kenyans in regards to travelling to Uganda, shaking of hands, hugging, drinking and eating from the same container and sexual contact.
“Mr Speaker, I would like her to clarify if she is aware that the disease took a mere three weeks to move from Western Uganda to Kampala and that it is quite possible that it might take a similar period or even a shorter period for it to come to the Eastern part of Uganda and therefore Kenya,” he said.
Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang’ made a commitment on behalf of the Public Health Minister to have the statement issued next week.
“This is really a very urgent matter and I think my colleague was here (Parliament) but I will inform her of this matter, probably she can come at the earliest opportunity next week, the afternoon of Tuesday,” he undertook.
On Monday, Kenya declared a high Ebola alert in provinces that border Uganda, after an outbreak of the disease was confirmed in Kampala.
The Head of Disease Prevention and Control at the Ministry of Public Health Willis Akhwale said they had instructed Provincial Directors of Health and District Medical Officers in Western, Nyanza and Rift Valley provinces to immediately report any suspicious cases.
“We will issue the health workers in these areas with personal protective clothing for them to effectively handle any suspicious case,” he told Capital FM News.
Earlier, the Director of Public Health Shahnaaz Sharif told Capital FM News that Kenya would not advise its citizens against travelling to Uganda following the outbreak.
“We are not issuing any advisory for people travelling to Uganda. Everything is under control. If there is anything occurring, we can explore the disease within a short time. We have lab facilities to do so, nothing to worry about… you should relax.”
In May last year, the Ebola virus killed a 12-year-old girl in Uganda prompting the Health Ministry in Kenya to issue an alert on people living at the border.
Ebola is a viral haemorrhagic fever and one of the most dangerous viral diseases known to humankind.
There is no known treatment or vaccine for Ebola, which is transmitted through close personal contact. It kills up to 90 percent of victims.
Its initial symptoms include persistent fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat which is usually followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rashes on the body as well as external bleeding.