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Japan supports Uganda’s Ebola preparedness

By Violet Nabatanzi

Added 4th September 2019 10:11 AM

The chief representative JICA Yutaka Fukase said they have embarked on training health workers working in 23 Ebola high-risk districts i

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Acting Director of General Services at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Henry G Mwebesa testing the hand disinfectant donated to different health centers by SARAYA. PHOTO: Betty Musasizi.

The chief representative JICA Yutaka Fukase said they have embarked on training health workers working in 23 Ebola high-risk districts i

 
In an effort to prevent the spread of Ebola, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has extended its support to Uganda to help curb any outbreak.
 
The chief representative JICA Yutaka Fukase said they have embarked on training health workers working in 23 Ebola high-risk districts in infection prevention and control (IPC).
 
The districts include Koboko, Maracha, Arua, Zombo, Nebbi, Pakwach, Buliisa, Kikuube, Kagadi and Hoima. Others are Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, Kabarole, Kamwenge, Ntoroko, Bundibugyo, Kasese, Rubirizi, Rukungiri, Kanungu, Kabale and Kisoro.
 
Speaking during in Kampala, Fukase said the training is intended to enhance the capacity and ability of health workers to cope with any likely cases of Ebola while adhering to safety measures to handle any likely cases in the country.
 
"Early last month, we received a request from the ministry of health through the National Task Force for support in the fight to reduce the risk of Ebola outbreak in Uganda," he said
 
He added that in addition to training, JICA has also provided hand sanitizers to health facilities working in these districts and also donated a vehicle which will be used by the case management team of the National Taskforce.
 
JICA is the primary Japanese governmental agency responsible for technical cooperation component of Japan's bilateral Official Development Assistance program.
 
The Principal Nursing Officer at the Ministry of Health, Harriet Kembabazi said there was a need for health workers to focus on IPC saying that it is the backbone of health care service delivery.
 
She cautioned health workers to be infection conscious so that they avoid infecting patients, and create a comfortable working environment for everyone, adding that IPC is one of the key components in the basic training for health workers.
 
Dr. Seth Tibenda, the District Health Officer (DHO) Rubirizi district, however, said that much as they have put more efforts in IPC, the isolation centers in the district are not well equipped. He said they also need Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
 
PPE fully covers the skin and prevents any exposure of the eyes, nose, and mouth. It is recommended to help reduce the risk of accidental self-contamination of mucous membranes or broken skin.
 
Tibenda said the district recently had six suspected cases but all turned negative. He said lack of PPE leaves health workers at risk of getting infected with the disease.
Dr. Paul Onzubo, the DHO Maracha said although the health workers in his district have been trained in general IPC, they have not been trained specifically in Ebola adding that they lack experience in handling protective gears.
 
The principal medical officer at the Ministry of Health Dr. Bernard Opar warned health workers who tend to run away when they receive suspected cases.
 
Opar said to date over 7000 health workers, frontline workers and contacts in high-risk districts have been vaccinated against Ebola.
 
 

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