KAMPALA —In an accelerated effort to scale up response to the Ebola disease outbreak in Uganda, Habitat for Humanity Uganda (HFHU) has delivered assorted supplies to different locations in Kampala to help halt the spread of the virus.
The items handed over at the Kisenyi Health Center IV consist of Personal Protective Equipment, Hand Sanitizers, Temperature Guns, Liquid Soap, Hand washing facilities among other supplies for health workers to safely care for patients in treatment centers.
Such items, worth up to UGX. 100M will also be given out to other selected areas including Summit Primary School, Kamwokya Market among other areas in Kampala slum establishments.
Mr. Aldo Olwoch, a MEAL Specialist at Habitat for Humanity Uganda said the items would help to enhance the protection of health workers responding to the Ebola outbreak in Kampala.
Olwoch added that the provision of these supplies also seeks to ensure that health systems can prevent and respond to shocks, crises, and emergencies that affect their city populations.
Ms. Veronica Kagasa, the Infection Prevention Control Focal Person for Kisenyi Health Center IV expressed her gratitude to the Habitat for Humanity Uganda for their contribution towards the fight against both Covid19 and Ebola outbreaks—saying the support would help the facility to contain the spread.
“We are very glad for what we have received today because it support us in this ebola situation,” Kagasa said, also telling reporters that Kisenyi Health Center IV is one of areas designated to take care of ebola of Ebola patients in case the outbreak escalates.
Kagasa said all the staff at the facility have been trained on ebola prevention and control— noting that supplies such as temperature guns, PPEs and hand washing facilities are very timely.
On 20 September 2022, Ugandan health authorities declared an Ebola outbreak after the confirmation of a case in Mubende district by the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI).
There were 130 confirmed Ebola cases and 43 deaths by 31 October, according to Uganda’s ministry of health, a case fatality rate of 33%. The lack of a licensed vaccine for the “Sudan” strain present in Uganda and the spread of the outbreak to Kampala have magnified the public health dangers, the WHO warned.
Since the outbreak was declared on 20 September, the highly contagious virus has surfaced in six rural districts clustered in the centre of the country – Mubende, Kassanda, Kagadi, Bunyangabu, Kyegegwa, Wakiso – as well as Kampala, a city of 3.6 million people in the south. Over Thirty have died. And the strain responsible doesn’t yet have an approved vaccine.
After hopes the initial cases might have been contained, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, said he remained concerned about the potential for future spread: “there may be more chains of transmission and more contacts than we know about in the affected communities”.
The government initially denied last week that there were infections in Kampala, but has since acknowledged 17 cases have been detected – 13 of them linked to a single family, and six of those children attending three local schools.
The education ministry has kept schools open, but has banned prome parties for primary and secondary school students as well as visitation sessions.
The number of contacts listed for follow-up has ballooned to over 2,300 as of November 1, with reports of logistical failures – including a lack of vehicles – hampering tracing.
Mubende and Kassanda districts, meanwhile, remain under dusk-to-dawn lockdown.
Speaking at a press briefing recently, Dr Ahmed Ogwell, acting director of Africa CDC, said that the lockdowns are time limited for 21 days so that “we can contain spread (of the virus). After the 21 days the situation can be assessed again.
The Ministry of Health has activated response efforts to rapidly contain the spread with support from Health Partners and it also working with neighbouring countries, including Rwanda, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to step up surveillance of the virus.
It is also working with the WHO to test candidate vaccines for the Sudan Ebolavirus.
The most promising is a single-dose ChAd3 Ebola Sudan Vaccine being developed by the Sabin Vaccine Institute in the US.
Emmanuel Ainebyoona, senior public relations officer at the health ministry, says that they are ready to start the vaccine trials as soon as they receive the doses.
The Ebola Virus Disease is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other body fluids of infected animals found ill or dead.
The virus then spreads through human-to-human transmission via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with either blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola virus disease.