Ebola screening points to be established on Lake Albert shores

By Ismael Kasooha

IRC responds to the world's worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives.

Ebola 350x210


Kagadi - The International Rescue Committee (IRC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Kagadi district is to establish Ebola screening points at points of entry into the country, on shores of Lake Albert.

IRC responds to the world's worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives.

Dr Herbert Muhumuza, the Health Coordinator IRC, told New Vision that this is a high-risk area which has direct linkages with Ebola-stricken DRC because of the daily cross border movements on Lake Albert.

Over 5-8 boats cross from both countries on a daily basis with an estimated 300 people. 

“These people have relatives on either side and even transact business together across the borders so it’s a high-risk area which must be handled with care to avoid the spilling over of Ebola into Uganda,” said Muhumuza.

He said that IRC will go ahead to provide equipment that will be used at the screening points and will be available until March 2020 with support from ECHO (European Union Commission).

Silvano Thembo said that at points of entry the district will provide health workers who will be trained on how to assess persons and will be obliged to report on how many people have been screened periodically.

He said that in case of any suspected Ebola case, the district should ensure that the person is transported to the Ebola Treatment Unit at Kagadi Hospital.

Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI), as an implementing partner in the district, have been providing vehicles to enable the district Ebola task force go to hard-to-reach areas down the escarpment.

The screening points shall be established at landing sites on Lake Albert including Kabukanga, Kitebere, Kamina and any other as the need arises.

Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Health said, “We welcome such an intervention because it strengthens our fight against Ebola and as a country, we shall cooperate with IRC.” 

The IRC has been working in the DRC since 1996, responding to humanitarian crises.

The development follows the increased Ebola cases of over 1336 victims with 870 death rates in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The DRC is the epicentre of the current Ebola outbreak close to the Ugandan border. In the West, Kagadi district is one of many districts identified and at risk. This prompted the Ministry of Health to release 140M shillings to help in the prevention exercise.

According to District Health Officer Kagadi, Dr James Olowo, health workers have been trained to manage any emergencies and added that the health department is on high alert.

Dr Isaiah Musinguzi, the Emergency Health Officer working with UNICEF said, they have provided a consultant who is stationed in Kyegegwa, overseeing Kagadi, Kyenjojo and Kyegegwa districts.  

The external Situation Report 38 of 24th April 2019, indicates that documented transmission in the DRC, however, remains geographically confined, with the majority of recent cases being reported from hotspot areas within Katwa, Vuhovi, Butembo, Mandima, and Beni health zones. 

During the last 21 days, a total of 253 confirmed cases and no probable cases were reported in Katwa Vuhovi, Butembo, Mandima, Beni, Mabalako, Kalunguta, Masereka, Musienene, Oicha and Kyondo.

During this period, 59 health areas in 11 health zones reported new cases; 41% of the 145 health areas have been affected to date.

As of 22 April 2019, a total of 1353 Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) cases, including 1287 confirmed and 66 probable cases, were reported. A total of 880 deaths were reported (overall case fatality ratio 65%), including 814 deaths among confirmed cases.

Of the 1353 cases, 56% were female, and 28% were children under 18 years. The number of healthcare workers affected remains 90, including

33 deaths.