The Minister of State for Health (General Duties), Hon. Anifa Kawooya, has asked countrymen and women to remain vigilant in the wake of the Ebola outbreak in Mubende district.
Kawooya was on Tuesday, 20 September 2022 presenting a statement before Parliament on the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Mubende, located about 150 kilometres west from the capital, Kampala.
According to the Ministry of Health, on the 19th of September 2022, the confirmed index case of Ebola died in Mubende Regional Referral Hospital and the body is still being kept separate from others and awaiting a dignified burial. She said that this is the second Ebola-Sudan strain in Uganda, with the first case reported in Luwero district in 2012.
Kawooya told the House that more information is still being gathered concerning the possible source of infection and contacts for the confirmed case.
She said that the Ministry of Health has strengthened its efforts to prevent the further spread of the Ebola Virus within the country by dispatching the National Rapid Response Team to support the District Rapid Response Team in responding to the outbreak.
“The team has been equipped with a sizeable amount of logistics including an isolation tent, EVD kits, and other essential supplies,” she said.
Surveillance and contact tracing including tracing contacts of the confirmed cases, screening travelers at both designated and undesignated Points of Entry and active case search both within communities and health facilities are other measures being employed.
She also said that the line listing of all possible contacts to the deceased index case has commenced in Mubende and Kiboga districts. Additionally, the Ministry of Health will intensify risk communication and community engagement to increase awareness of the disease among the communities.
On the mysterious deaths of six people in Madudu and Kiruma sub-counties, the minister said that they could confirm whether they were as a result of Ebola.
Kawooya asked Ugandans to remain calm but very vigilant and report suspected cases of Ebola signs and symptoms. She said that she is confident the Ministry of Health and partners will contain the outbreak.
Members of Parliament raised concerns about porous borders and gold mines in Mubende and the risk of the spread of Ebola.
Hon. Pascal Mbabazi, the Buwekula County MP, said that the workers in the gold mines in his area are at risk of catching the disease. He revealed that whereas the minister has presented one death, in Mubende, the cases are more.
“I expected in the minister’s report, a statement that ambulances have been set up in the event cases shoot up. More so, I expected the Minister to talk about the awareness of Ebola,” he said.
He said leaders should also be involved in the process.
Bufumbira County MP, Hon. John Kamara, said that Kisoro district is at the border with DR Congo and they are currently receiving very many refugees. He called on the ministry to pitch camp in Mubende and not operate from Kampala.
Dr Charles Ayume, the Chairperson of the Committee on Health, acknowledged that mines are habitat for bats, and the Ministry of Health should look at the mines in Mubende as a risky area for Ebola to spread.
Hon. Flavia Kalule, the Kassanda Woman MP, asked the government to heighten the alert level in all areas surrounding Mubende like Kassanda, stating that people are very worried.
Kitgum Woman MP, Hon. Lilian Aber called on the Ministry of Health to control movement and intensify vigilance.
“If Ebola spreads throughout the country, how prepared are we because this is worse than COVID-19?” she asked.
Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa asked the Ministry of Health to regularly update Parliament on the management of Ebola and interested the health committee in working with the ministry.