17 June 2019

Uganda: How Kasese Residents Responded to Ebola Outbreak

Kasese — Residents in Kasese District have acted swiftly to ensure Ebola virus that has so far claimed three lives is contained.

Several public places including radio stations, schools and hotels in the district have placed hand washing facilities with bold inscriptive messages in English, Kiswahili, Lhukonzo and French and have ensured that whoever accesses the premises is asked to wash hands.

At Mpondwe Primary School with an enrolment of 1,372 pupils, the school head teacher, Ms Paddy Mwesige Pambara, explained that they have put in place three hand washing facilities, one at the school main gate and other two in the compound.

"Our teachers were trained last year by the United Nations on how to guard against Ebola, I am sure they have passed the same message to pupils," she said.

Combined efforts

Mr Selevest Masereka Mapoze, the local council 3 chairperson for Mpondwe Lhubiriha Town Council, said they are working with Save the Children, a non-governmental organisation, to organise road shows and sensitise the public about the prevention of Ebola.

The Rt Rev Solomon Badaaki, the station manager for South Rwenzori Messiah Radio, said immediately they learnt of the disease, an Ebola message was recorded in collaboration with the South Rwenzori Diocesan health department and is running routinely in several districts that receive signals.

Residents have asked the Ministry of Health to ensure that many porous points at the border are closed.

The district internal security officer, Lt Johnson Tashoba, said the border was well guarded and asked the health team to screen everyone crossing from DRC to Uganda.

A five-year-old boy and his grandmother were recently buried at Rusese Prisons land in Mpondwe Lhubiriha Town and Buhuna Village in Karambi Sub-county on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

Four people, who were taken to an isolation centre at Bwera Hospital, were on Thursday repatriated to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

They include a mother of the deceased boy, her eight- month-old baby, a sister and the husband.

Three others from Kyarumba and Kahendero fishing villages and a medical officer, who got in contact with the deceased child, are still being monitored at Bwera Hospital.

WHO donation

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on June 10 declared that Ebola, which has been reported in the neighbouring DRC, had crossed to Uganda.

WHO has donated more than $10 million (about Shs37 billion) in response to the outbreak of Ebola in Uganda.

The Minister of Health, Dr Ruth Aceng, on Tuesday said the country was ready to confront the epidemic.

On Wednesday, the Congolese delegation that met with the minister at Bwera Hospital also donated 400 doses of vaccines and some furniture to help personel at Mpondwe Lhubiriha Screening Centre.

On security, the six border entry points that are on River Lhubiriha, have been tightened and screening is being carried out on people entering the country from DRC.

Border points

The sub-county chairperson of Kitholhu, Mr Amon Mweru, observed that the main entry points of Mpondwe, Mirami, Kanyatsi, Kisolholho, Kithoma and Kayanja on Lake Edward are being managed, however, he was worried of more than 50 small entry points that are used as illegal routes.

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