8,000 vaccinated against Ebola in western Rwanda

Healthcare workers perform injections in Butembo, Democratic Republic of the Congo on July 27, 2019. (Photo by JC Wenga/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: A healthcare member inoculates a man for Ebola suspicion to take precautions against the disease in Butembo, Democratic Republic of the Congo. (Photo by JC Wenga/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

About 8,000 Rwandans have so far been vaccinated against Ebola in the western districts of Rubavu and Rusizi bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo, an official said on Saturday.

“At least 5,000 people have been vaccinated against Ebola in Rubavu district at two different sites,” William Kanyankole, director of the Gisenyi Hospital in Rubavu district, said while briefing reporters about the district’s vaccination campaign.

Three more vaccination sites are set to open, he said, adding that about 3,000 have been vaccinated in Rusizi district.

The Rwandan government launched a voluntary Ebola vaccination campaign last December to prevent the spread of the virus from the DR Congo.

The target is to administer 200,000 Ebola vaccine regimens to people who frequently cross the border and to those living in districts bordering DR Congo, the ministry said.

The vaccine is administered to citizens two years old and above.

According to Rwandan Ministry of Health, 17 million U.S. dollars have been spent on a major national Ebola preparedness and response plan in the last 18 months.

Efforts to combat Ebola include the establishment of an Ebola treatment center in Rubavu district, Ebola case management training for medical staff, community engagement, and simulation exercises to test the country’s readiness in detection and management.

There are no confirmed cases of Ebola in Rwanda so far, according to the ministry.

According to the World Health Organization, 3,382 cases of Ebola, including 2,232 deaths, have occurred in DR Congo’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces since the start of the outbreak in August 2018.