NAIROBI, KENYA —
Kenya is famed for its medical research facilities. In the growing wake of the Ebola virus, health officials there now are confident they could quickly contain the disease should the outbreak in West Africa travel east.
Downtown in the heart of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, people go about their daily business.
But Kenyans -- like Africans across the continent -- are concerned that if efforts to contain the current Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa were to fail, that could leave their country exposed.
Kenya's Health Ministry is charged with overseeing preparedness for infectious disease and epidemics.
Dr. Nicholas Muraguri, the director of Medical Services, told VOA that if there were an Ebola outbreak, Kenya is prepared.
“We have a contingency plan that’s been coordinated by an Ebola outbreak response team which has a number of sub-committees looking at various aspects," said Muraguri. "We also have an elaborate laboratory system that clearly defines how the samples will be collected.”
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KEMRI, the Kenya Medical Research Foundation, is where a team of scientists is working to mitigate any reported case or outbreak of the virus.
Dr. Shikanga O-tipo led a team of four Kenyan doctors to assist Liberians with technical expertise on Ebola. He said they have taken steps to prevent an outbreak in Kenya.
“Our routine surveillance was stepped up from 26th of March this year when we were notified there was an outbreak in West Africa. Where we have issued out alerts to the health care system," said O-tipo. "We are screening inbound travellers at our main airport, at the same time we are also educating health workers in the major hospital first, then all over the country.”
Ready to assist
Health officials are hopeful Kenya will remain Ebola-free. But Kenya also is ready to help others. A second group of health experts is set to travel to West Africa in the next few weeks to support containment efforts.