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.