September 15, 2019
Secretary Azar Meets with Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Ebola Preparedness
KIGALI, RWANDA—Today, September 15, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, joined by other senior U.S. health officials, met with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and other senior Rwandan officials to address joint efforts to prevent the Ebola outbreak from spreading into Rwanda, which borders the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This is a high priority for the Trump Administration as cases of Ebola were recently confirmed in Goma, DRC, a city near the Rwandan border and a transit hub for the region.
In their first meeting, Secretary Azar delivered greetings from President Trump to President Kagame as they discussed steps the U.S. and Rwanda can take in partnership to prepare for and prevent the spread of Ebola, including strengthening border screening capacity and improving infection prevention and control practices. Efficient border screening is critical as thousands of people cross the Rwanda-DRC border daily. They also discussed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) international development strategy to build in-country capacities that will enhance Rwanda’s ability to address this and future public health emergencies. The decades long partnership between the U.S. and Rwanda is an important part of promoting continent-wide global health security.
While in Kigali, Secretary Azar and other senior U.S. health officials met with Rwandan Minister of Health Diane Gashumba. Secretary Azar and Minister Gashumba discussed the progress made in Ebola preparedness, how the U.S. can assist in filling preparedness gaps, and potential strategies for an Ebola vaccination campaign in the country. Secretary Azar and Minister Gashumba are unified on the urgent whole-of-government, multi-sectoral response needed to prevent the outbreak from coming to Rwanda. They also discussed Minister Gashumba’s leadership and progress in addressing other infectious diseases like HIV and malaria.
To conclude his travel in Rwanda, Secretary Azar visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial and left a personal reflection inside the memorial’s remembrance book. Secretary Azar expressed the strong U.S. commitment to the Rwandan people.