Far from the virus, Goma implements safeguards to block Ebola.
The local media have launched a campaign to educate residents about the ebola risk. The provincial Ministry of Health, WHO ( World Health Organisation ) and MSF ( Doctors Without Borders ) have already announced measures to prevent the Ebola virus reaching Goma. "The virus has not yet arrived in Goma " insisted Mutete Mundenge the provincial health minister in North Kivu on Wednesday at a press conference.
After a suspected case was discovered and quarantined in Kigali, Rwanda . Goma has the right to be afraid. Since this virus has swept across West Africa in Goma and around the world everyone talks about "Ebola". In Goma, I talked with those who say to me:
" For myself, no longer the collective helmet for the bike! "
Others say to me: "As if Goma ever misses such occasions!." This time the authorities are preparing for any eventuality.
All doors are locked against the arrival of the virus in Goma. The virus nor even a suspect cases have been reported in the city. "Prevention is better than cure" they say. At the Rwanda-Congo border and Goma airport, hygiene teams have already set up. An infrared temperature sensor, new technology has come to Goma.
Already at the Goma border gangs of workers have begun hygiene controls to prevent against Ebola's arrival. Some people who live between Goma in DRC and Gisenyi in Rwanda confirm these control measures but judge them as fairly rudimentary.
Provincial Medical Inspector of Orientale Province, Jean-Marc Mambidi Kolodoro who has led the fight against Ebola since 1997, calls on the government to impose preventive measures.
Handwashing, chlorinated water, people should avoid crowds and avoid hugs when they greet each other: " We must avoid crowds, physical greetings, use chlorinated water to wash our hands There are the concrete steps it takes. Use them. They will be the reason if we are lucky that we will avoid this disease that has a death rate of 90%. That's our problem. " he stated on Radio 1 Kivu Goma on Thursday.
The DRC is the country where the virus was first detected in 1976 in the eastern province near the "Ebola" river. Ebola was named for the river passing near the town of Yambuku, in the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo , then called Zaire . It was at the hospital in this town that the first case of Ebola hemorrhagic fever was identified in September 1976, the first epidemic was then and it infected 318 people killing 280.
In Goma, the provincial capital, the Ministry of Health and its partners are preparing a contingency plan with provision for any suspect cases that could be discovered.