, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 14 – The government says it is sending a team to assess the situation in Monrovia and Free Town, which are among West African cities worst hit by the Ebola crisis.
The team which will include two doctors will be mandated to assess the management protocols on the ground so as to advise the government on measures to be taken in enhancing controls in the country.
The government is working with Kenya Airways in dispatching the joint Rapid Situation Assessment team to the two cities.
Addressing journalists on Thursday, outgoing Kenya Airways CEO Naikuni said Kenya Airways will continue flying to its West Africa destinations while reviewing its operations on a daily basis.
“We have not been advised to ban travel and that’s why we will continue to fly into that particular region,” he stated. “We have carried out surveillance by looking to what the Ministry of Health is doing and we are satisfied.”
Naikuni said they are satisfied that the screening measures undertaken at the JKIA conform to the standards set out by the World Health Organisation.
He said they had received guidance from WHO which states that, “there should be no general ban on international travel or trade; restrictions outlined in these recommendations regarding travel of Ebola cases and contacts should be implemented.”
“The state should provide travellers to Ebola affected and at-risk areas with relevant information on risks, measures to minimize those risks, and advice for managing a potential exposure.”
However, Naikuni says in the event the situation warrants, flights to the affected destinations will be cancelled.
Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia during the briefing said 200 health workers will be trained in the next three weeks as part of government measures to mitigate the transmission of the deadly disease.
“Even the kind of financial commitment we are putting together is for contingency purposes, we hope God forbid that we shall not get the disease coming here,” he stated.
He said a crisis committee has been formed led by Kenya Airports Authority Managing Director Lucy Mbugua to address issues arising from “threats of importation of Ebola.”
He also said that 31 health workers have been sent to the airport, “to join the team in terms of screening and assessing of persons coming to the country.”
Mbugua on Thursday said passengers arriving from West Africa had also been allocated special gates but said passengers who had been to West Africa but did not fly directly to Kenya posed a challenge.
“That is the problem because you will not be able to know. If a passenger goes to Europe and then comes to Nairobi you’ll not be able to know because we’re not screening European passengers, the same with South Africa,” she said.