Ebola: Uganda Strengthens Surveillance Operations  

Uganda remains vigilant and well prepared should Ebola break out in the country, story recipe a government official has revealed.

The disease has for killed 4, 000 people in West Africa and even threatened to crush the Liberian economy.

Spreading like a wildfire, the Ebola disease has also taken lives of medical personnel including two doctors.

Minister of State for Primary Health Care, Sarah Opendi Achieng, said Monday that after the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, “we developed a comprehensive preparedness response plan to control the epidemic from spreading to Uganda.”

Pointing out the heightened surveillance, Opendi further said the National Taskforce was reactivated to control all the interventions against the epidemic.

“This started with reactivating all district taskforces in the country. All district surveillance officers are alert monitoring all suspect and alert cases,” she added.

On screening of all travelers coming into the country, the minister said screening centers are operational at Entebbe International Airport, Kenya border points of Busia and Malaba and DRC border points of Bunagana in Kisoro, Mpondwe in Kasese, Otramachaku in Arua, Goli in Nebbei, Lendu in Zombo and Vura in Arua.

“Training of health workers in infection control and response to VHFs is under way,” she said and that government has opened up isolation facilities at the Mulago National Referral Hospital and Entebbe.


President Museveni on last week said Ebola and Marburg are zoonotic diseases (they go from the human being to the animals and vice-versa) which can be avoided.

“They are very aggressive and lethal.  Yet, they are easy to stop because, fortunately, they do not go through the air like flu.  They infect by contact.”

He added: “Therefore, in order not take any chances, I request you to suspend the habit of shaking hands in addition to the measures the Ministry of Health is taking in respect of handling those who are sick or who are suspected to have had contact with the sick or with those who die”

Speaking at the national independence celebrations in Kampala, Museveni also requested communities especially in the forest zones to stop the custom of eating monkeys and other primates.

“Those creatures are relatives of humans.  Moreover, they are the ones that harbor those dangerous viruses ? Marburg, Ebola, etc. Avoid them please.  Eat the livestock we look after ourselves: cattle, goats, chicken, pigs, etc. as well as plant proteins.  The bats also seem to harbour these viruses.  The Ministry of Veterinary should work out plans to eradicate these dangerous sources of this problem,” added Museveni.

“The fact that 60 percent of the infected people survive, means that we can develop a vaccine.  When you get sick, please report to the medical authorities immediately. Infected people have a high chance of surviving if they get medical support of especially rehydration early.   Therefore, prompt reporting is crucial.  As far as the medical staff is concerned, they should always use gloves.”

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