South Sudan on Friday denied outbreak of the deadly viral Ebola disease following the recent death of a 41-year old woman who succumbed to Ebola in Aliwara, in the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), some 70 km from the border.
Makur Matur Koriom, undersecretary in the ministry of health, said South Sudan is safe from the Ebola virus, which has killed more than 1,000 people in neighboring DRC since August 2018.
“I would like to take the opportunity to assure the South Sudanese people and residents in this country that so far there is no Ebola in South Sudan,” Koriom told journalists in Juba. “It is still safe to go around your business as usual, to travel in and out of the country, but of course there is a need also to remain vigilant in case of any case of Ebola that may cross into the country.”
He said the victim in Aliwara was already under surveillance before she died from the viral disease last Sunday, June 30.
The South Sudan government responded quickly upon hearing the announcement of Ebola spreading in the Aliwara area in the DRC, Koriom said.
“We responded quickly and the national taskforce convened on that day and immediately informed the taskforce and our partners in Yei about the developments in the DRC,” he said.
A team has already been dispatched to Yei to improve preparedness for and prevention of any possible outbreak “in those high-risk states,” Koriom said.
He revealed that potential high risk contacts are being vaccinated at the
border of the two countries.
Koriom said the government is working with peace monitors to reach out to rebels and armed groups controlling high-risk areas to allow access to health experts.
Guracha Guyo, World Health Organization officer in charge of health emergencies in South Sudan, said the WHO is fully committed to helping improve the country’s Ebola preparedness measures and mechanisms.
“In this region of Yei River state, the government has reached over 700 frontline healthcare workers with vaccines,” Guyo said.
“All of us are committed to support the government in its endeavor to make sure that the Ebola virus will be prevented from coming to South Sudan,” he said. (Xinhua)