Uganda Cares gives Shs 111.8m for Ebola prevention

Uganda’s alertness along its common border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is still high during increased business activity between the two countries despite the presences of the Ebola Virus Disease in DRC.

More than 1,000 people cross the border at least twice a week to attend  the two market days at either side of the border despite the DRC recording more than 1,400 Ebola deaths over the past 10  months.

Thousands more enter Uganda for refugee from rising insecurity in eastern DRC.

This has forced Uganda’s Ministry of Health to placed four sub counties in Kasese district under surveillance for any possible cases of Ebola.

According to Allan Muruta, the commissioner for public health emergencies told journalists during the handover medical supplies to support Uganda’s response to Ebola that the Ministry had placed the sub counties of Kisinga, Bwera, Nyakiyumbu and Karambi under surveillance because they are considered to be Ebola hotspots.

“They are the hotspots where the cases – those that were confirmed to be having Ebola passed when they entered Uganda from the Denocratic Republic of Congo,” Muruta said.

The supplies that are worth $31,009 (Shs 111.8 million) were donated by Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and Uganda Cares.

The first Ebola case in Uganda was reported on June 11 after a 5-year-old boy who travelled with his mother from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) entered Kasese district where he tested positive to the deadly disease.

The boy died the following day as his sibling and an elderly woman also tested positive for Ebola before they too died.

Muruta said that the areas under surveillance are along the routes where the Ebola victims passed as they entered Uganda through undesignated border crossings.

“Along the route, they did expose some people to the virus. We are talking about boda boda cyclists and other people they could have interacted with. We have mapped the areas where they passed and the people they came in contact with,” Muruta said.

In its support to the Ebola response, Uganda Cares gave the Ministry of Health an assortment of medical equipment and supplies that are to be distributed to health facilities in Kasese, Mbarara, Masaka and Kampala to support Ebola prevention and control measures.

“AHF considers Ebola as a disease of public health concern like HIV. The organization has a statement of faith to protect public health. Ebola is a threat to public health and can negatively affect the welfare of Ugandans,” Henry Magala, the Uganda Cares country programmes director said.

Kasese’s share is worth $24,115 (Shs 86.9 million) while the districts of Mbarara, Masaka and Kampala where symptoms of Ebola have been reported will share medical supplies worth $6,844 (Shs 24.6 million).