Ebola preparedness in Rwanda
The ongoing Ebola outbreak in DR Congo continues to present challenges, not only to those who are directly affected, but to neighbouring countries. Dr Sloan, a Senior Clinical Lecturer in the School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews and Consultant Infectious Diseases physician in NHS Fife was deployed as part of a four-person team by the Department of International Development (DfID) to work alongside the World Health Organisation (WHO), Ministry of Health, Rwanda Biomedical Council and others to help bolster preparedness activities. He mainly worked in Rubavu District and at Gisenyi District Hospital. One of the team’s most important activities was to help co-ordinate a simulation exercise on how a suspect Ebola patient could be managed at the hospital in a way which provided best supportive care whilst minimising risks of transmission to others.
Regular practice with simulations and feedback is the best way for healthcare workers to be ready in advance of emergencies so this was a very valuable exercise.
Dr Sloan also visited Rwanda a year ago on a WHO technical Consultancy to help with Ebola Preparedness. It was good to be back to meet Rwandan colleagues who are near the front line of the global public health response, and to discuss ongoing challenges. Previously, he has worked in the Sierra Leone during the West African Ebola outbreak in 2015, and was the UK Emergency Medical Team Clinical Lead during an outbreak of diphtheria amongst the displaced Rohingya population in Bangladesh in 2018.