Ebola reported within 50km from Uganda border

The Ministry of Health has intensified efforts to stop the deadly Ebola virus from spreading into Uganda, the Director General of Health Services, Dr. Henry Mwebesa, has said.

This is after latest information revealed that the epidemic had moved within 50 Kms from the Ugandan border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, which puts Ugandans at a very high risk of catching the deadly disease.

“The latest information is that we have 344 cases of Ebola in DR Congo and this is in a place that is very close to our borders. Initially, we were talking about 100kms, but of late it has come even closer to 50kms from our border and in fact recently, we had 2 people that died exactly at the landing site of L. Albert on the other side of Congo,” Mwebesa said.

He was speaking on Friday during the  3rd Grand Annual Doctors Conference at Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala.

Mwebesa said that while Ugandans close to the Congo border face a higher risk, it does not mean that preventive measures for those far away from the border be relaxed since experts haven’t ruled out the possibility of the virus having spread to Kampala and Wakiso districts.

“We must develop a very high degree of suspicion because we may be focusing at the borders, but you know the airport is open and this puts areas of Kampala and Wakiso at a very high risk too. So you [doctors] may at any time be confronted by a doctor and you may be treating malaria when it’s actually Ebola. Ebola doesn’t known borders, so, as a country we are at a very high risk; we had 202 deaths [in Congo] as of yesterday,” Mwebesa noted.

He stated that the Ministry has embarked on vigorous preventive measures to ensure Ebola doesn’t make its way into Uganda in addition to setting up treatment centres for the disease.

Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah advised Ugandan doctors to keep their heads up and do their duties professionally despite weaknesses from other stakeholders.

“The weaknesses of your partners must not weaken you to fulfil your responsibilities. Partners like government sometimes disappoint, but our bad manners should not affect your good manners because our people depend on you. Do your part, shame will finally come and overpower them [partners] then they will get on board,” Oulanyah said.