Truckers express worries over dire Ebola surveillance

Thursday, September 29th, 2022 02:33 | By
Trucks lined up to access the Busia One Stop Border Point. The queues can get as long as five to 10 kilometres with drivers waiting up to three days to get cleared. Photo/MUSA RADOLI

Long-distance truck drivers plying the Northern Corridor have expressed worries at how cross border authorities are handling the Ebola threat.

The concerns emerged barely 24 hours after the government assured Kenyans it had heightened surveillance at the country’s entry points.

Drivers who haul cargo through the Mombasa-Busia highway to Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and Congo seemed to pour cold water on Monday’s Ministry of Health statement.

They said in an interview with People Daily that little was being done to keep the Ebola threat at bay.

The truckers accused customs and security agencies of laxity at the Busia border, cautioning that if business as usual continues, the country would remain exposed to the viral disease whose fatality rate is over 60 percent.

“We are warning that with the status quo, Kenya is staring at a glaring risk of an outbreak,” the truckers said through their spokesperson, Salim Karama even as experts emphasise that perhaps Kenyans should consider reviving some of the Covid-19 prevention protocols.

Face mask protection

Dr Marybeth Maritim, a lecturer, Department of Clinical Medicine and Therapeutics at the University of Nairobi’s School of Medicine said community-wide face mask wearing may contribute to the reduction of infections of diseases of respiratory nature.

Besides raising alarm that 20 counties were at risk of exposure to the deadly disease, the ministry also revealed that there is a heavy population of Ugandan citizens in Kenya especially in Nairobi, Kajiado and Kakuma. This raised fears of a potential importation of the disease that has already killed 23 people in Uganda.

“Owing to these risks, Kenya needs to implement effective measures to prevent the EVD outbreak spreading into the country including; stepping up surveillance for detection and preparedness for appropriate response,” Health Director General, Dr Patrick Amoth had cautioned.

The transporters said it is imperative that the government initiate preventive measures to shield its citizens from the threat of the deadly infection.

Mombasa County Government’s Public health department is expected to convene a meeting today and give a directive on preventive measures, according to Chief Officer Pauline Oginga.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health listed Nairobi and Mombasa counties as high-risk entry points for the Ebola Virus following its outbreak in neighboring Uganda.

 Amoth earmarked the two counties, which host the Jomo Kenyatta and Moi International Airports. Amoth revealed that about 18,726 people were screened between September 20 and 25.

However, even as the ministry exuded confidence to deal with the EVD, healthcare workers including doctors and clinical officers poked holes at the government saying such planning strategies don’t work well if all stakeholders are not involved.

More on Business