IOM Donates Personal Protective Equipment Kits to Government Hospital in Tanzania
Kigoma — Due to the recent resurgence of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), one of the six countries bordering the United Republic of Tanzania, the Government has increased its efforts to prevent EVD cases entering Tanzania by strengthening disease surveillance measures at both airport and land entry points in the country.
As per a Government health official, Dar Es Salaam faces the highest risk because 60 per cent of the 1,526 travellers who came to Tanzania from the DRC in the last month went to the city. Other at-risk regions include Mwanza, Kagera, Kigoma, Katavi, Rukwa and Songwe. Currently there are no Ebola cases in Tanzania.
Following an IOM medical team’s recent visit to the Kigoma Port, at the border between Tanzania and the DRC, it was recognized that there were a limited number of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits for the medical officers carrying out the surveillance activities at the port’s entry point. An average of 30 cargo ships pass through the Kigoma Port per month, arriving from the DRC, Zambia and Burundi. These cargo ships also bring passengers.
For this reason IOM, the UN Migration Agency, decided to donate 24 PPE kits which will be used at all the land entry points between the two countries but particularly for the Kigoma Port. A PPE kit consists of a gown, a pair of gloves, a pair of goggles and a mask.
Practicing good hand hygiene is another effective method for preventing the spread of the Ebola virus. “Proper hand hygiene means washing hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer,” said Dr Qasim Sufi, the IOM Tanzania Chief of Mission. He also added that Ebola vaccines are currently in the trial stages.
IOM strives to continue working with the Government of Tanzania in its effort to prevent EVD’s entry into Tanzania and increase regional preparedness.
Its Migration Health Division (MHD), acquired solid experience of EVD response of during the 2013-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa that has been recognized as one of the largest, deadliest and most complex public health emergencies of our time. It had devastating effects — from the sheer amount of human lives lost, to the suffering, fear, mental trauma, stigma, and sacrifices that many had to endure, as well as the economic, social, and political costs. IOM’s role in the response to the outbreak was unprecedented in the Organization’s history, as it became a major actor in the provision of humanitarian health-care services. Hundreds of staff members were deployed to the three most affected countries, namely Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and also to neighbouring countries, such as Mali, where transmission was low or rapidly contained.
IOM is currently one of the humanitarian agencies responding to the outbreak of EVD in the DRC.