MoH to Train Public, Private Outbreak Responders

Photo Courtesy of minister Margaret Muhanga

By Fred Kayongo Male: The Ministry of Health (MoH) has resolved to train public and private emergency responders in preparation for future health emergencies. MoH believes equipping responders in both government and private health settings with the knowledge to detect and respond to emergencies especially disease outbreaks would among other things minimize the spread and fatalities.

The decision was reached the 3 days After Action Review to assess the country’s response to the Ebola outbreak in Uganda at Speak Resort Munyonyo. Mary Stevens, an official from the World Health Organization (WHO), applauded Uganda for its good national action plan for health security and guidelines for viral haemorrhagic fever standard operating procedures.

Stevens, however, showed the need for the government to invest in diagnostics making sure that laboratories have the capacity to handle emergencies during any outbreak. Uganda diagnosed and confirmed the first case of Ebola virus in September 2022 and it was declared free last month. At least five dozen of people lost their lives to Ebola.

Dr Francis Kuria, the Head of the Directorate of Public Health at the ministry of health in Kenya who came in as an observer said that there is a high amount of cross-border movement of people and goods between Kenya and Uganda which put them at the spot of transporting diseases like Ebola Virus to Kenya.

Kuria explained that out of the 29 alerts received in Kenya from the people who crossed from Uganda with symptoms of Ebola, all turned out to be negative. These alerts Kuria said helped Kenya to strengthen the laboratory capacity in the five regions across the northern corridor.

Dr Kuria added that an invasion in Uganda also concerns Kenya, and they are to use the knowledge learned from Uganda to manage any future outbreak in Kenya. He applauded Uganda for its transparency and willingness to share information on how the country managed to fight the Ebola outbreak in 69 days.

“For us, we didn’t come as observers to see what you’re doing right or wrong we came to learn from you thank you for accepting us to be part of your discussion as you conduct the AAR exercise,” Dr Kuria said.

Dr Yonas Tegegn, the W.H.O. representative to Uganda expressed the need to strengthen the surveillance and provide the community with knowledge of early identification of Ebola for proper management of any outbreak.

Margaret Muhanga, the minister of state for primary health care who represented the minister of health Jane Ruth Aceng, said countries are now learning from Uganda on how to manage epidemics following the 69 days record made by the country to manage the Ebola outbreak.

Ebola ravaged the districts of Mubende and Kassanda in the central region of Uganda. It is not yet clear how Ebola Sudan came to Mubende because MoH and W.H.O. have not yet traced how it carried to the area.

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