With the tenth Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo in only forty years, there is a need, more than ever, to curb the spread of the epidemic by adopting new prevention measures and treatment. BALTON Plc has committed to leading response to the outbreak by introducing thermal imaging cameras that will help to identify earlier on suspected cases.
The Ebola virus, formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe and often fatal illness in humans and other primates. The virus spreads by human to human transmission through unprotected broken skin or mucous membranes with blood, secretions or other bodily fluids.
Although preventive measures have been adopted to control the spread of Ebola especially in countries neighboring Rwanda, weak surveillance systems and poor public health infrastructure continue to stifle containment of this outbreak. So far, the newest Ebola outbreak that was officially declared on August 1st ,2018 in the Democratic Republic of Congo has claimed more than two thousand lives. In close collaboration with Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC), BALTON Plc will be using drone technology and thermal imaging cameras to screen the body temperatures of travelers as one of the symptoms of individuals infected by the virus.
During a CNBC, Power Lunch broadcast about the role of technology in tackling the Ebola crisis, Gideon Coetzee, Country Manager at Balton Rwanda Limited and member of the Balton CP Group talked about the outbreak control and response measures that the revolutionary tech company has adopted to prevent cross-border spread of the virus. Using drone technology, the thermal imaging cameras will be used to detect people with abnormal fever around or miles from the borders. The drones will be connected to the custom control posts and will send immediate alerts in case a traveler shows intense fever.
“Technology can be integrated into the existing healthcare system to stop the spread of the Ebola Virus. We stand ready to do our part to intensify the surveillance at all ports of entry and at the community level. We are supporting emergency preparedness by reinforcing the surveillance system and ensuring there is adequate capacity to isolate suspected cases,” he emphasizes.
BALTON Plc also looks forward to equipping customs officials with smartphone applications that will help in screening travelers at the borders. This project will be implemented in the next twelve to eighteen months.
The venture by BALTON Plc is complimented by the Government of Rwanda and the Ministry of Health efforts to strengthen the disease surveillance system. So far, screening is being performed on all borders and airports and an emergency treating center was built in Rubavu district to screen and treat Ebola in case of an outbreak. The Ministry of Health also offers training to medical staff around the country through simulation exercises as a preventive measure.