Mombasa scales up Ebola surveillance in ports

 Mombasa Public Health Chief Officer Pauline Oginga at a briefing on the county's status of Ebola surveillance.

Photo credit: Winnie Atieno I Nation

Health officials at the Mombasa Port and Moi International Airport are on high alert after Mombasa was listed by the Ministry of Health as one of the 20 counties with high-risk of Ebola infections.

The Ministry, in a situational report, stated that owing to the enormous human traffic between Kenya and Uganda through the airport and bus transport, the port city stands a high risk of infections.

On Friday, the county government said it has enhanced screening at the airport in collaboration with port health officials.

Also, an isolation facility has been opened at the Railways Dispensary in Shimanzi area should cases of the disease be reported.

The facility is closest to both the port and airport.

Public Health Chief Officer Pauline Oginga said the Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital cannot be used as an isolation facility because of its busy nature and admission of patients from the entire coast region.

“We have distributed protective gear in sub-counties just like we did with Covid-19.  In response, we are using the personnel we deployed during the pandemic. The difference is we are stressing on donning, doffing and disaffection to curb Ebola. We have enough infection preventive materials which are key in such a response,” Ms Oginga said.

She added the county is creating awareness on the signs and symptoms of Ebola, especially for travelers and where to seek treatment.

The county has also formed a task force and has also recommended the county set aside an isolation facility to help in the management of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) which is rife in the port city.

The move will prevent the county from shutting down some health facilities and interrupting crucial services while responding to emergencies.