Kampala — Health ministers from Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have met to find a lasting solution to the Ebola epidemic that nomally strides both countries.
Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Ugandan Health minister, said the meeting that ended yesterday was necessitated by rampant outbreaks that has resulted in deaths of several people, mainly in the Congo.
"[We met] to agree on a harmonised mechanism for responding to the common epidemic across our common borders," reads part of the statement issued by Dr Aceng last evening.
Uganda shares a border with Congo and districts such as Kasese and Bundibugyo have in the past been hit by the deadly viral disease that is spread to humans through contact with infected bodily fluids such as blood.
In September, Health minister issued an alert after several Congolese nationals died from the disease that presents with symptoms such as fever, headache, and muscle pain, among others.
Uganda has had five outbreaks mostly along its western regions close to the DRC in the past, although the country has managed to contain the disease before it escalates into an epidemic. Currently, both countries have started vaccination against the disease.
According to Dr Aceng, the two countries have agreed to strengthen information exchange which will enable tracing of infected people, strengthen border surveillance through collaboration with local health zone both countries and a joint risk assessments in case of Ebola outbreak at border.
Other things the two countries agreed on include, mapping common crossing points with significant population movements for joint screening and monitoring and deployment of technical experts in such areas.
Ebola has on several occasions ravaged DR Congo for many years and the latest outbreak this year killed more than 200 people in Beni Province, near the Uganda-Congo border.