Since the Ebola virus disease outbreak in our neighboring country of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on August 1st, 2018, Rwanda has taken action in preventing an outbreak within its borders. Rwanda has not had a recorded case of Ebola throughout its history. Ebola has affected many nations throughout Africa and has reached other lands outside of the continent, killing around 12,000 people in Africa alone. With no known cure for the disease, millions of people throughout Africa feel hopeless because of their lack of knowing when and where the next outbreak is going to occur. The World Health Organization strategizes with four important points in combating the spread of Ebola: preparedness, alert, control, and evaluation. Our committee should be guided by these points to ensure rapid isolation of Ebola, active communication throughout the world, and safety of those affected or prone to being affected.
Rwanda has implemented a National Preparedness Plan that is aimed to prevent the virus from entering the borders, detect any possible outbreaks, educate the population on the topic of Ebola, and train and protect health workers regarding Ebola. Before entering the country temperatures are taken, hygiene measures like washing hands are strongly suggested, and messages are played to inform travelers and residents about Ebola. These efforts have shown the importance of preventing Ebola in Rwanda and the success of preparing for any possible outbreaks. Rwanda also has an Ebola Treatment Centre and 23 isolation units in the rare case than an outbreak will occur of the disease is brought into the country.
Along with having many precautions and information on Ebola within our own nation, Rwanda has also taken action by participating in social science research. The World Health Organization explains the research as, “better understanding the culture, practices and social experience of the communities affected by Ebola. Studies have addressed many concerns, from how to better include local leaders, to the role of cultural and environmental factors in improving the Ebola response and resilience”. Countries that are also involved in this research include DRC, Uganda, Burundi, and South Sudan. This research should continue and expand to quickly inform the world of communities affected by Ebola. This research has helped better communicate the tracking of Ebola to the world and is still being conducted. We have also recently been joined by the Ambassador of Japan in promoting the engagement of the community in preventing Ebola and improving communication to lower the risk of Ebola spreading. Although this is an early development, steps like these with nations across the world and African nations will greatly improve responsiveness to outbreaks.
In committee, Rwanda hopes to increase efforts of other nations that have either been tainted by this deadly disease or are prone to the disease being spread to them and serve as a model for nations that are taking action or plan on taking action to prevent Ebola. Our current steps in reviving the hope of our people can only do so much. We need to help every nation in Africa that has had an outbreak or borders a country that has had an outbreak that can not fund the entirety of their programs for preparing and minimizing outbreaks, including Rwanda. The WHO has seen valiant efforts from countries including China, the United States of America, Norway, Switzerland, Ireland, and many more gracious nations to fund a response plan for when an outbreak occurs. Rwanda hopes that every country that is able will be willing to work together and provide education, resources, and donations to countries in need; we need to be prepared for outbreaks, alert when an outbreak does occur, controlling during outbreaks, and be able to evaluate measures taken during outbreaks so they can be improved for the future.
- Athena Barrer