Uganda: Government Accuses Medics of Fleeing From Ebola Patients

Kampala — Most health workers, who have received specialised training on handling of Ebola management, are the first to run away when suspected cases are booked at a health facility, a senior official in the Ministry of Health has revealed.

Dr Bernard Opar, a principal medical officer at the Health ministry headquarters, yesterday said medics rush to attend Ebola case management trainings because of the expectation of allowances but shun the cases once in the field.

"I keep asking myself when I say we are organising a training on Ebola case management, everybody runs in that direction [saying] 'I must attend, why have I been left out'? Now let an (Ebola) case come, everybody wants to run away," Dr Opar said.

He added: "It is happening in most places. I know of an Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) in a certain facility where Ebola case management case training was done then when we got cases of Ebola, the place is being managed by the people who did not attend the training, but they read [about Ebola case management] and the people who attended the training would stand... and see: are they bringing another one? They would keep checking to run way. This is not right. This is what is happening in this country. Very unfortunate."

Dr Opar did not mention the health facility, but said health workers need to think provision of services before reward. He made the remarks yesterday in Kampala during refresher training of health workers from 23 Ebola high-risk districts.

Yesterday, district health officers and their emissaries gathered at Hotel Africana in Kampala to discuss better response to the deadly disease.

Some complained that their areas lacked isolation centres while many reported stock-out of personal protective equipment (PPEs) such as gloves, gum boots, aprons and face mask.

"We do not have an Ebola treatment unit neither do we have an isolation centre, we do not we have the necessary PPE that we need such as gloves , face masks, gum boots... we need to protect ourselves... this means we are at risk. But people are trained," Dr Seth Tibenda, the Rubirizi District health officer, said.

Dr Charles Olaro, the director for Clinical Services in the Ministry of Health, said they are working on ensuring that every facility has the equipment.

Meanwhile Japan International Cooperation Agency has injected $46,000 (Shs170m) to support Uganda's preparedness and response to Ebola.


Ebola broke out in eastern DRC last August and has killed more than 1,800, according to the World Health Organisation. Uganda has had episodes of Ebola outbreaks in the past, which were all relatively controlled. In June, Ebola patients from DRC crossed into Kasese District, where three died. Ugandan officials subsequently discharged and repatriated the other recovering patients back to Congo. Health ministry officials say they have received 760 Ebola alerts this year, which all turned out negative.

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