EU offers €3.5 million for Ebola emergency response

The European Union (EU) has announced an emergency funding in response to last week’s reported Ebola virus outbreak in the western Ugandan district of Kasese.

The funding worth €3.5 million (Shs 15.7 billion) will be shared between Uganda – €2.5 million (Shs 11.2 billion) and €1 million (Shs 4.5 billion) for South Sudan which is hoped to strengthen rapid detection and reaction to Ebola cases.

The funding comes on top of the €17 million in EU funding for Ebola response since 2018 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and prevention and preparedness actions in Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi, Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis management and EU Ebola coordinator said.

“We are doing all we can to save lives and stop further Ebola cases. Today, our main task is not only to help the Democratic Republic of Congo, but also assist neighbouring countries like Uganda. Here, our funding is helping with surveillance, work with local communities, and boosting local capacities for these countries to take timely and effective action. We are committed to continue our assistance to bring this outbreak to an end, for as long as it takes,” Stylianides said.

In co-ordination with other international donors and in line with the World Health Organisation’s regional strategic Ebola response and preparedness plans, EU funding will mainly go towards strengthening of disease surveillance at community level, health facilities and points of entry (border crossing points), the training of rapid response teams, the training of healthcare and frontline workers on contact-tracing, infection prevention and control measures, psychosocial support, and safe and dignified burials, local capacity-building by equipping medical treatment facilities and raising community awareness.

Meanwhile, efforts are still on to trace the whereabouts of a suspected Ebola patient who had entered Uganda with the family of the three people who have so far died of Ebola.

According to Benjamin Sensasi, a communications officer with World Health Organisation (WHO), the man is among the high risk contacts that the Ministry of Health and WHO.

He is suspected to have crossed back to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since it is easy to cross in and out of Uganda to DRC.