The UK Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin has visited the Medical Research Council/Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Entebbe hailing the historical and strong collaboration between the UK and Ugandan governments.
Established under an agreement between the Ugandan and the British Governments in 1988, it 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.
Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin said: “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.”
While visiting the Institute, the Minister announced in collaboration with Uganda’s Ministry of Health and channeled through four UN agencies, that the UK will support Uganda’s National Task Force with £5.1 million of funding for Ebola preparedness and prevention efforts in Uganda.
This funding 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.
A significant proportion of the funding will also provide core relief items (basic household necessities) to allow newly arrived refugees to leave overcrowded and high-risk transit and reception centres, therefore reducing further the risk of spread of Ebola.
The UK government and World Health Organization judge Uganda’s current preparedness efforts to be strong. However, the risk of the disease spreading beyond the border from DRC is high and the funding will support timely interventions to strengthen screening at points of entry including the Entebbe international airport.