Kigali, 20 May 2019
Rwanda Defence Force (RDF); through Rwanda Military Hospital and in partnership with the United States Air Forces Africa, is hosting the seventh African Partner Outbreak Response Alliance (APORA) Key Leader Conference from 20-23 May 2019.
APORA is growing network of more than 25 African nations committed to collectively prevent, detect, and contain disease outbreaks. Alliance membership is open to any partner nation willing to join and contribute. The alliance endeavours to rapidly advance all participating countries’ plans, tactics, and capabilities by establishing effective international relationships, sharing and leveraging best practices.
Opening the conference, Minister of Defence Maj Gen Murasira noted that for Rwanda, the safety of its people comes first. “No population can feel safe if there was a killer disease among them, that is why we consider any public health threat an enemy number one to our population and that is why we take the lead as men and women in uniform to prevent and protect the people from any disease or any outbreak,” said Maj Gen Murasira.
“In military institution we value preparedness and this alliance is very welcome because it serves our mission, coming together as one whether there is an outbreak or not, to plan together, prevent together and protect together is highly appreciated and we commend this alliance,” he added.
APORA began as a military event. During the last two events, however, the attendance included civilian partner agencies and APORA has used the Global Health Agenda to inform and shape their activities. The alliance was formed in response to the Ebola outbreak which has so far claimed over 11,000 lives from 2014 to 2016.
The conference is an opportunity for Rwandans to know about existing military partnership strategies and, of course, the RDF will benefit from knowledge sharing from the different participants on how to respond more swiftly on various outbreaks at home, in the region and on the international scene.
APORA VII objectives aim at continuing to develop a guidance manual for military response to outbreaks, review and revise the current APORA bylaws and charter, capitalise on the knowledge exchange from Rwanda subject matter experts, expand on the conclusions of APORA VI and the Global Health Security Agenda evaluation tool to address the most common/most urgent needs of Alliance members, identify opportunities for countries to collaborate to fill training needs.