Rwanda’s ministry of health has launched a vaccination drive of health workers involved in prevention drive against Ebola.
The drive is aimed at protecting healthcare workers from contracting the deadly virus in case they have to deal with patients who have contracted it.
The announcement comes after a cabinet meeting approved the use of recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus vaccination, an experimental drug for the protection against the virus.
Speaking during a workshop in Nyamata, Bugesera District, the minister of Health, Dr Diane Gashumba, revealed that although Rwanda is Ebola free, the vaccination is informed by the fact that the epidemic has persisted in neighbouring DR Congo.
The Ebola outbreak was declared in August 2018 in the Congolese provinces of North Kivu and Ituri while Uganda, South Sudan and Rwanda were declared as priority one countries and are currently undergoing Ebola Virus Disease readiness and preparedness.
In the current outbreak in In DR Congo, 1087 people have been infected with the virus and 60 per cent of them died while 370 were treated and recovered.
The vaccine was donated to Rwanda by Merck, an American pharmaceutical company that developed it.
The support was channelled through the World Health Organisation. It is estimated to be worth about US$1 billion.
The vaccination drive starts on April 15 and last for five months, covering 15 districts that medics say are more susceptible to the epidemic.
They are Nyarugenge, Gasabo, Kicukiro, Rubavu, Rutsiro, Nyamasheke, Musanze, Nyabihu, Burera, Gicumbi, Nyagatare, Karongi, Bugesera, Nyanza and Rusizi.