Kigali: Schools Kick-start Handwashing Campaign to Fend off Ebola Threat

Author: Rutayisire Patience
On:28/08/2019 12:18
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Ebola outbreak has been putting Rwanda on high alert from the time it was reported to have been diagnosed with people from neighboring country, DR.Congo, and have killed at least 1965 people since last year.

Mizero is washing his hands at Umuco Mwiza School based in Kimironko Sector- Kigali. At roughly 11 Am, the twelve-years-old, Crispin Mizero, a pupil at Umuco Mwiza School is using a tippy tap to wash his hands, with soap.

Located in Gasabo District, the school is among many public institutions operating in Kigali that have started to implement strategies of Rwanda ministry of health on Ebola prevention.

The directives, which involve mass hand washing in public places, are aimed at keeping Rwanda Ebola-free, following the outbreak- a year ago- in neighboring country, DR. Congo.

As of last week, this year the disease had killed at least 1965 people since the viral disease was diagnosed last year while nearly 3000 cases have been reported, according to World Health Organisation figures.

The incident blanketed the city of Goma, which borders with Rwanda to the west part, and has put Kigali on high alert.

When The New Times Rwanda visited some public places including schools and banks, it found out they have set up hand washing places, especially at the gates.

“Our head teacher told us that there was an Ebola outbreak in our neighboring country – the Democratic Republic of Congo – and we are many students who come from various parts of Rwanda. So, we have to use all means to prevent the outbreak,” Mizero said. 

Françoise Tumukunde, Head Teacher of Umuco Mwiza School, said the school has set up four tippy taps at the gate to serve pupils in the school as well as staff and other people who come to visit the students.   

“The school is a such a large that it would be difficult to deal with an epidemic in case of an outbreak. That’s why we focus our efforts on prevention,” Tumukunde said.

For Tharcille Nyiranzabicaho, the Deputy Dean of Studies at GS Rugando in Gasabo District, tippy taps were an effective tool in keeping the students and teachers clean.

“We have about 2000 students in nursery, primary and secondary school who come from different families; so it would be hard to manage their sanitation but installing tippy tap hand washers at the entrance plays a big role in their hygiene,” said Nyiranzabicaho.

The deadly disease, Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids such as urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen of a person who is sick or has died of the disease.

Ebola symptoms

Experts say Ebola symptoms may appear anywhere from 2-21 days after contact with the virus, with an average of 8-10 days but many common illnesses can have these same symptoms, including influenza or malaria.

Recovery from Ebola depends on good supportive clinical care and the patient’s immune response.

According to the World Health Organization, an infected person cannot spread the disease until they develop symptoms.

Symptoms can be sudden and include fever, severe weakness, muscle pain, headache, and sore throat.

This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding such as oozing from the gums, or blood in the stools.



Rutayisire Patience


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