Monitor Lake Victoria too, locals say amid Uganda Ebola fears


People use an illegal crossing on the Kenya-Uganda border at Busia last Wednesday.

Photo credit: Tonny Omondi | Nation Media Group

Fishermen and travellers from Uganda, where there’s an Ebola outbreak, are still crossing into Kenya without being screened.

This is worrying the locals, with fishers from Bunyala and Samia calling on the county and national governments to deploy health workers to all beaches on Lake Victoria for proper surveillance to avert the spread of the virus.

Mr Stephen Musee, the chairman of Omena Beach in Budalang’i, Busia County ,said at least 700 people from Uganda cross into Kenya daily via the lake for trade.

“The authorities are concentrating on the two main border points [Busia and Malaba], forgetting that hundreds of people access the country via the lake. It will be difficult to stop the spread of the disease should those travelling on boats turn out positive for the virus,” he said.

Busia has several beaches on the lake, including Omena, Marenga, Mulukoba, Sinyeye, Osieko, and Bumbe.

Busia Governor Paul Otuoma has reassured residents that his government is working to stop the virus from getting into the country.

While inspecting the state of preparedness at the Busia border post, Dr Otuoma said a holding room had been set aside for anyone who will arrive with signs of Ebola. He said the county was working closely with Ugandan authorities and the national government to contain the virus first reported in Mubende district in Uganda.

“As the government does its part, I also wish to appeal to the public to be vigilant and report anybody who shows Ebola-related symptoms,” he said.

Busia County Commissioner Sam Ojwang said his officers were aware of porous routes being used to enter the country and were working closely with the Ugandan government to address the situation.

“We have all the measures in place at Busia post, Malaba, and all porous routes to make available necessary equipment to curb the disease.”

“We are also in communication with our counterparts in Uganda and they have assured us that they are screening anybody leaving Mubende district and they must also be tested.”

“The assurance from our neighbours is an indication that they mean well for other neighbouring countries as far as Ebola is concerned,” he said.

He added: “We are also working with the county administration to take care of all porous routes to stop anybody coming into the country using the routes.”