To ensure that you are fully protected during your stay in Rwanda, it is necessary that you contact your local surgery, inform them of your plan to travel and the dates you intend to travel so they can check your medical records and recommend which vaccinations you need in order to be fully protected. In order to enter Rwanda, you must have valid vaccinations for Meningitis and Yellow Fever and you MUST carry your yellow fever vaccination certificate with you when you enter the country, as you may be refused entry if you fail to bring it and Discover Rwanda Adventures cannot be held responsible if you are put on a plane home because of your own negligence. You will also need a prescription of anti-malarial drugs – usually Malarone for a short trip – which your surgery can advise you about. It is highly unlikely you will get Malaria in Rwanda. Although it is the highest health risk to travellers into Rwanda, it is far less prevalent here than in other countries.
Read more about the single vaccinations below. You must consult your doctor to ensure you get the correct vaccinations.
Diphtheria is a serious throat infection, which infects from person-to-person through the air. The vaccination should be less than 10 years old otherwise a booster is needed.
Malaria tablets reduce the risk of infection. There is considerable chloroquine resistance in this area and the choice is between Malarone, Lariam or Doxycycline. Protection against mosquito bites will reduce the risk further.
The vaccine against tuberculosis, BCG, is recommended to people stationed in high-risk areas for more than 6 months, who have not been vaccinated previously. The vaccine contains live bacteria which produce a small wound, as well as scar after healing. The whole process takes 4 to 8 weeks.
Yellow fever is a serious virus infection, which cause a serious hepatitis. The vaccine provides protection for 10 years after a single injection. Countries where yellow fever is present are entitled to request a valid certificate documenting a vaccination against yellow fever at least 10 days before entry. The certificate is a stamp in the WHO yellow book.
Hepatitis A (infectious hepatitis)
Infectious hepatitis infects through food and water. Vaccination consists of two injections about 12 months apart, which protects for up to 20 years. The first vaccination protects for 12 months. Gamma globulin consists of purified antibodies from people who have had hepatitis A, and protects for up to 5 months. The vaccination is preferred. The hepatitis A vaccine can be combined with the vaccine against hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B infects through blood, sexual activities and, in small children, through saliva. The vaccination consists of 2 vaccinations about 4 weeks apart and a third 6 months later. The protection is for at least 10 years. The hepatitis B vaccine can be combined with the vaccine against hepatitis A.
Meningitis is due to meningococcus bacteria infecting person to person through the air. The vaccine protects against infection for 3 years after 1 vaccination. There are two vaccines: One protects only against type A and C. The other protects against A, C, W135 and Y and is used for travel to Saudi Arabia (especially Hajj) and Burkina Faso.
The vaccination consists of 3 injections at day 0, 7 and 28 and must therefore start 4 weeks before departure. Vaccination protects for 5 years. If exposed to rabies, the “post-exposure” vaccinations are reduced from five to two.
Tetanus is a complication to wounds contaminated by soil. If there has been a vaccination within the past 10 years it is not necessary to give a booster in case of wounds and accidents. Tetanus is usually given in combination with diphtheria. If you have been previously vaccinated, the vaccine can be given right up to departure.
Typhoid is the most serious of the Salmonella infections. There are two types of vaccine:
1. Vaccine for injection. One vaccination protect up to 3 years.
2. A live vaccine in capsules, which is swallowed. Three capsules are taken 2 days apart and provide protection for a year.