Kenya is on a high alert after Uganda confirmed the spread of Ebola into the country from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. Though the two neighbouring countries have in the past managed to contain the viral disease within their borders, Kenyan public health and border control agencies must not be lax. The Health ministry has said that measures are already in place to keep Ebola at bay, which is reassuring.
The authorities should allocate adequate resources to prevent spread of the disease into Kenya. Should there be any laxity and Ebola finds its way into the country, the cost to the economy would be enormous. During an outbreak of the viral epidemic in 2014, Kenya suspended air travel to the region, exposing the Kenya Airways to an estimated Sh4.2 billion loss in revenues that fiscal year.
An outbreak in Kenya would have a ripple effect across all sectors and strain the entire economy. It would, however, be far-much more cost-effective to step up surveillance at the entry points and thoroughly screen travellers to detect any possible Ebola cases and deter its spread. The Ministry of Health should also effect proactive measures such as an awareness drive to educate the public on the disease.