United Kingdom injects more than 5.1 M pounds in fight Ebola

By Gloria Nakiyimba
United Kingdom-UK   Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin has  announced a 5.1 million Pounds  UK support  for Uganda’s national task  force on Ebola.
According to a statement from the British High commission Kampala, the  money is for Ebola preparedness and prevention efforts in Uganda. It will support surveillance in high-risk districts at the border with DRC; risk reduction communication amongst communities; infection prevention and control measures as well as provide for improved case management.
The   Minister  who has  been in Uganda for  two days  made the announcement while visiting the e Medical Research Council/Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Entebbe on Friday.
Part of the e funding will also provide core relief items to allow newly arrived refugees to leave overcrowded and high-risk transit and reception centers a move aimed at reducing further the risk of spread of Ebola.
 The UK government and World Health Organization,  judge Uganda’s current preparedness efforts to be strong.
With this funding, it will be easy to make timely interventions to strengthen screening at points of entry including the Entebbe international airport to reduce on the risk of the disease spreading across  the border from Democratic Republic of Congo.
The minister who jetted in on Thursday has been in Uganda on a visit to help her to better understand the challenges and opportunities the country faces.
She   hailed the historical and strong collaboration between the UK and Ugandan governments.
 “I am delighted to visit the Uganda Virus Research Institute to see the successes that have resulted from a 30-year partnership between the UK and Uganda on research into HIV and related diseases. The new partnership between the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Centre shows the very best of UK expertise helping to prevent deadly diseases in both the world’s poorest regions and at home.” She said.
The UVRI is currently at the forefront of cutting edge research on HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases including Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers such as the Ebola virus.
It was established under an agreement between the Ugandan and the British Governments in 1988
Uganda’s ministry of Health supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) are leading implementation of Uganda’s National Preparedness and Initial Response plan.
An outbreak of Ebola was declared by the DRC   the Ministry of Health on 1st August 2018 .
So far   the total number of confirmed and probable cases  as of 1st October was 159, with 101 deaths reported .
The high population movements between DRC and Uganda have put Uganda at a high risk of the disease transmission.  This high movement is mainly an influx of refugees fleeing fighting in the Eastern Congo.
Since January 2018, 98,103 refugees have arrived in Uganda from DRC.  Ebola is a deadly virus characterized by fever, boday aches, and diarrhea and sometimes bleeding from all body openings.  It spreads through direct contact with body fluids like blood, mucus, seat, and saliva, contact with contaminate bedding and clothing materials of an infected person.

Suspected Ebola case samples in Lacor sent to Mulago for investigation

St Mary’s Hospital Lacor has isolated a female patient suspected of having Ebola.

The woman was transferred from Adjumani Hospital on May 31st and doctors observed signs similar to Ebola.

According to Dr Emmanuel Ochola, the Lacor Hospital Epidemiologist, the suspected case has been isolated and is being monitored. He says a blood sample has been sent to Mulago National Referral Hospital for investigations.

Ochola, however, says it is only a suspected case whose confirmation will be determined based on results from Mulago.

“It was a gynaecological problem, she was referred here on that background but we started observing signs similar to those of Ebola,” he said.

Ochola says there is no cause for alarm as the situation is contained. He says, however, they have called upon doctors to be vigilant and have a high level of suspicion, while the population should report any suspicious cases.

In 2000, a deadly Ebola outbreak in Gulu district killed at least 200 people including Lacor Hospital director, Dr Matthew Lukwiya. The outbreak lasted from October 2000 to January 2001 affecting another  400 people in the district.

Just in May this year, the World Health Organisation confirmed Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.



Health experts investigate four suspected Ebola cases in Masaka

Health experts in Masaka district are examining the death of four persons who presented symptoms akin to the deadly Ebola virus.

The first suspicious death was reported late last month from Kasaka Parish in Buwunga Sub County. Medics say that the deceased, identified as Wilberforce Ssenkubuge, had advanced fever, accompanied with abnormal pain, immense vomiting, bloody stool and yellow eyes.

Masaka District Health Officer Dr Stuart Musisi says that three similar deaths have so far occurred and the district continues to receive patients with similar symptoms. Musisi adds that the reported cases are from the neighboring two parishes of Kasaka and Mazinga in Buwunga Sub County.

He says that initial investigations have established that latter victims had direct contact with the first case.  He adds that another four patients have been isolated at Masaka Regional Referral Hospital awaiting the outcome of the laboratory tests conducted earlier.

Meanwhile Masaka Regional Hospital Principal Administrator Eleazar Mugisha says that an isolation ward has already been set up at the facility. He says the Ministry of Health has dispatched a backup team to Masaka to help them contain the situation.

He also urged members of the public to be vigilant and report any suspected cases to a mobile team that has been sent to the communities in order to be able to contain the disease.
14 years which have been quickly contained through a combination of epidemiological luck and a well-coordinated response system operating at several levels of the health service.

The most devastating was the first Ebola outbreak in the northern district of Gulu in 2000 which infected 425 people and killed 224.

Over 11,000 people died following an outbreak of Ebola that swept through the West African states of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone in 2014. It remains the most severe outbreak of Ebola since the discovery of Ebola viruses in 1976.