The Ebola Virus Disease has cast a grim shadow over the African continent, with East African countries frequently grappling with outbreaks.
In a region that has been particularly susceptible to the disease, Uganda, most recently, has battled an Ebola outbreak that claimed lives in Mubende District.
Responding to this challenge, the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) and the Uganda Red Cross Society, in partnership with the government, are advocating for united efforts among East African member states to bolster epidemic preparedness.
Over the years, Uganda has experienced multiple Ebola outbreaks, the most recent being last year in Mubende District. The country's history is marked by the most significant outbreak in the early 2000s, which saw 425 cases and 224 deaths, according to World Health Organization records.
Uganda's effectiveness in managing these outbreaks has turned it into a benchmark for other nations to emulate.
Representatives from various African countries gathered in Kampala to exchange knowledge and strategies for combating these outbreaks.
"Uganda's success in controlling these outbreaks makes it an example that other countries in the region can learn from," commented Dr Daniel Kyabayinze, Director of Public Health at the Ministry of Health.
The collaborative meeting is poised to become a hub of innovative ideas and expertise, all aimed at safeguarding the health and well-being of the East African community.
"This gathering represents a convergence of minds to strengthen our collective response to epidemic threats," emphasized Pape Mouse Tall, Head of Delegation at IFRC.
The challenges posed by managing such outbreaks have consistently revolved around limited resources. To address this concern, delegates at the meeting advocated for the creation of a dedicated fund by regional governments, specifically designed to address the financial requirements in the event of an outbreak.
"Resource availability has been a major challenge for Uganda and many other African countries in managing epidemic outbreaks. The creation of a dedicated fund could greatly enhance our preparedness and response," stated Robert Kwesigwa, Secretary General of the Uganda Red Cross.
As the two-day meeting unfolds, all eyes in the region are fixed on Kampala, eager to witness the birth of a unified front against the persistent threat of epidemic outbreaks.