The sh3b will be used for epidemiology surveillance in the high risk districts, social mobilisation and education of the community on Ebola
KAMPALA - The Ministry of Health is in need of over sh3b to guard the country in case of an Ebola outbreak.
Following the outbreak of the virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), three weeks ago, the Health Ministry has been coming up with strategies to ensure that the disease does not spread to Uganda.
DRC borders Uganda in the South West.
Addressing journalists after meeting in a closed door morning session, at Golf Course Hotel, Kampala, the Health Minister, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng said the money is to help them fully prepare for any eventualities.
By Thursday, the international media had reported a rise in the Ebola death toll to 55 with 69 people confirmed to be infected in the Northern Kivu province, DRC.
“We cannot say that everything is 100% ready. All our partners came together to discuss our readiness and also discuss the possibility of mobilising resources towards our plan,” Aceng said.
She revealed that they need USD908, 111 (sh3.4b) for proper planning to be able to handle any out breaks in the country.
Of this, sh153.1m will be used at the national level, sh413.2m will be used in Bundibugyo, sh202.6m will go to Bunyangabu, sh510.2m is to cater for Kabarole, sh364.6m will be for Kasese, sh296.1m will be for Kampala, sh88.9m will go to Wakiso, sh224.3m will be for Ntoroko and sh1.1b will be spent on vaccination of health workers.
So far, five districts of Kasese, Kabarole, Ntoroko, Bundibugyo, Bunyangabu and Kisoro. They are at risk of being affected have been identified along the border with DRC. They include
Kampala and Wakiso districts have also been named risk areas given that one is a capital city and the other has an airport that acts as an entry for people from different countries.
“First, I want to reaffirm there is no case of Ebola in Uganda.
However, the outbreak is in DRC and very close to the Uganda border, we are doing all it takes to see that we are prepared for any eventuality and also that we protect our borders as much as possible to ensure that no case of Ebola crosses over into the country,” Aceng said.
She explained that the money will be used for epidemiology surveillance in the high risk districts, social mobilisation and education of the community on Ebola and how to report cases, case management including treatment of people who are sick, preparation of burial, disposal teams and vaccination of health workers.
The money will also be used in setting up teams that will move to affected families to provide psychosocial support; secure infection control materials and morale boost the health workers in high risk districts through giving them allowances.
Dr. Yonas Woldemariam, the WHO representative in Uganda said that they, as partners, are in close contact with the Health Ministry and are in the process of planning a high level ministerial meeting between ministries and other partners so as to be able to track people’s movements along the border.
“We are still gathering information on who has contributed what. We haven’t quantified the support coming to respond to the cause,” he said.
The meeting, organised by WHO, was between the Health Ministry and its bilateral and implementing partners.
It was held to map a way forward on the country’s response regarding the Ebola threat. It was also to partner institutions on the situation in the DRC and what the ministry has done so far in preparation for any eventuality.
Aceng said so far, the ministry has done screening services at the borders and surveillance is currently ongoing. They have trained health workers and the case management teams.
She added that they are going to install the walk through scanners at the border in Kasese where by people coming into the country have to walk through while health workers are checking their temperatures and clinical condition. This will replace the infrared thermometers currently in use.
In 2012, Uganda lost 17 people to Ebola.
The Ebola virus was first detected in 1976 in DRC and it was named after a river in that country. This is the tenth time DRC is being struck by the deadly hemorrhagic fever, since then.