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Statement to Diplomatic Missions on Ebola preparedness in Uganda

Thursday, 14th August 2014

INTRODUCTION
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\r\n \r\n The current Ebola epidemic ravaging West Africa countries has had enormous effects not only in the affected countries but to the African continent at large. The epidemic started in Guinea in March 2014 and spread to the neighboring countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and recently to Nigeria. This is a worrisome situation and Uganda has not taken this for granted. The Ministry of Health is actively preparing for any eventuality in regard to this outbreak. \r\n

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STATUS IN UGANDA
\r\n \r\n Currently no single case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has so far been confirmed in Uganda. However, as a result of the country's strong vigilance and surveillance systems, one suspect case was identified at Entebbe International Airport on August 6th 2014. On a good note, samples taken from this suspect tested negative for all Ebola viruses, Marburg, Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever and Rift Valley fever viruses.
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\r\n \r\n Since July 15, a total of six alert cases have been reported and investigated for possible Ebola virus. The alerts were recorded from the districts of Kitgum, Kasese, Kampala and Wakiso. Investigations into the alerts however showed that the patients suffered from other diseases and hence not probable for Ebola.
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\r\n \r\n The Ministry of Health has so far dispatched Eight Experts to West Africa to support the efforts to control the epidemic. The experts are undertaking the following activities; surveillance, contact tracing, data management, case management, specimen collection, laboratory testing, infection control and prevention in addition to health promotion.
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\r\n \r\n CURRENT INTERVENTION
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\r\n \r\n The Ministry of Health, however, continues to strengthen its efforts to prevent a possible spread of the epidemic to Uganda through the following measures:
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  • Screening of travelers at Entebbe International Airport; all travelers from the affected West Africa countries and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are being screened at the Health desk for Ebola signs and symptoms. The screening targets all passengers who have had a history of travel of not less than 21 days to any of the affected countries. The passengers complete a screening form and an information leaflet about Ebola and contact numbers of surveillance is given to all non-symptomatic passengers.
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  • A private Medical Centre in the airport has been equipped to provide counseling and clinical screening of all suspects. A standby ambulance with driver and relevant protect gear has been provided by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in case of any emergency.
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  • All districts have reactivated their District Task Forces m preparations for any possible outbreak. These taskforces are assigned to ensure that there is local capacity to handle any suspects or cases identified, designate isolation facilities, re-orient staff on Ebola case definition presentation and Infection control procedures. They are also expected to ensure adequate community information and heightened surveillance by front line health workers in all health facilities.
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  • All health workers have been directed to strictly observe Standard Infection Prevention and Control procedures in all health facilities. In addition, all health facilities have been directed to conduct orientation trainings