Rwanda has joined a growing list of countries in Africa that are evaluating their preparedness to outbreaks by looking at its systems on early warning, disaster preparedness, risk reduction and mitigating social and economic impacts of these outbreaks.
The self-regulation seminars are conducted jointly with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to meet an international agreed standards developed in 2005 commonly known as International Health Regulations (IHR).
Other countries that have conducted similar activities include Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar and Uganda. The burden of health disaster outbreaks have been known to devastate social lives but mostly economies of countries affected.
During the Ebola outbreak that hit most parts of western Africa in 2014 and 2015 were estimated by World Bank to have cost the economies over $200 billion and countries in the East African region have being mitigating against such a loss.
Rwanda stepped to the IHR standard model of detection and response using a multi sectorial approach which countries should use to secure their populations and environment.
According to Dr Jose Nyamusore, Epidemic Surveillance and Response Division Manager within Rwanda Biomedical Centre, “this preliminary meeting on self-evaluation focused on looking back whether Rwanda has been complying with IHR.
After the evaluation, the next step will bring then international experts for assessing where Rwanda is currently standing in IHR compliance, and provide guidance on which areas to strengthen in terms of jointly preventing and tackling potential threats.
“Health security is about world safety and security”, added Dr José. He indicated that to reach this objective entails useful tools that helps to monitor, evaluate, plan and advocate in a bid to build country resilience towards preventing, detecting and responding to public health threats of national and international concerns whether natural, deliberate or accidental.
Dr Andre Rusanganwa ,WHO Diseases Prevention and Control Officer, underlined the importance of this multi sectorial approach by presenting 10 public threats to global health in 2018 namely pandemic influenza, health conflicts, cholera, diphtheria, natural disasters, Meningitis, Yellow Fever, malnutrition, and food poisoning.
These threats are aggravated by underlying issues such as conflicts, disasters and disease outbreaks.