Health ministry bosses throw curses at Ambassador Natalie Brown as US channels billions for Ebola fight through agencies

United States’ Ambassador to Uganda Ms Natalie E. Brown

United States’ Ambassador to Uganda Ms Natalie E. Brown

The United States government has channelled funds meant for fighting Ebola through humanitarian agencies instead of Uganda’s Health ministry amid concerns that the money is often diverted to unrelated activities when given directly to government.

Addressing journalists in Kampala on Wednesday, US Ambassador to Uganda Natalie E. Brown said her government has so far given $22.3 million (about Shs83 billion) to Uganda since the outbreak of the viral haemorrhagic fever in September.

But she said the money has been disbursed to Baylor Uganda, which is in charge of contact tracing, alert management, and training laboratory staff on infection prevention and control; the Infectious Disease Institute, World Health Organization and UNICEF.

Ambassador Brown said they only released $6 million to the Ministry of Health, adding that the government needs to allocate money to the ministry as combating the epidemic requires collective effort.
This came as Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said her team needs to be allocated money directly in order to implement control activities in time.

In her statement to parliament on Wednesday, the minister said since the beginning of the outbreak, no funding has been provided to support the response of the ministry despite a clear response plan, which is affecting the speed of the response.

“Partners usually inquire about government input before they declare their resources. We are seeing partners declaring resources mobilized on social media, which resources we do not have information abou” Dr Aceng’s statement reads in part, saying that they need Shs76 billion.

By Wednesday, Ministry of Health figures indicated that 131 people had been confirmed Ebola positive and three new cases of death were recorded, bringing the total number of deaths to 46. Also, 2,183 contacts of cases were listed for follow-up.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health is set to start trials of three vaccines developed to combat Ebola Sudan virus which has killed 43 people.

The three vaccines; Oxford from the United Kingdom, Sabin and Merck from the USA will be evaluated for their efficacy.
This revelation was made by the State Minister for Health (Primary Health Care), Margaret Muhanga on Wednesday, 03 November 2022. Muhanga was briefing the House chaired by Speaker Anita Among on the outbreak and the containment measures.

“We plan to vaccinate contacts of 150 confirmed cases (3000) initially. The trial preparation has been concluded and we estimate that we may begin the trial in two weeks’ time,” said Muhanga.

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