Uganda has sent 20 health experts to Sierra Leone and Liberia to help contain Ebola, which the World Health Organisation has declared an international emergency.
This follows last month’s request from World Health Organization (WHO) to Uganda to send experts to help in containing the Ebola virus.
Last week, the US- based Centres for Disease Control, announced that the Ebola outbreak that started in Guinea in March, had spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, and had run out of control, but could be stopped.
On Friday, WHO declared an international public health emergency, demanding an “extraordinary” response — only the third such declaration of its kind since regulations permitting such alarms were adopted in 2007.
The organization stopped short of saying there should be general international travel or trade bans, but acknowledged that the outbreak, already in its sixth month, was far from being contained.
One major international medical organization, Doctors Without Borders, responded to the statement with a renewed call for a “massive deployment” of health specialists to the stricken countries. “Lives are being lost because the response is too slow,” it said.
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This week, Uganda sent 20 health experts from the Ministry of Health and the Uganda Virus Research Institute flew to West Africa to assist in containing the spread of the virus.
It is reported that the slow response and lack of public trust in managing the deadly virus is the cause of its quick spread.
“It appears that a trust gap has developed between health systems and the general population that has made control efforts difficult in the West African countries,” said Prof Francis Omaswa, executive director of the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation.
“We achieved public trust in Uganda [enabling us to isolate patients and suspected Ebola victims] through intensive communication.”
Meanwhile, the government of Uganda has intensified screening mechanisms at the airport and border points to prevent any patient infected with the ebola virus from entering the country.
A patient travelling from South Sudan who was on Thursday put in isolation at Entebbe after exhibiting symptoms of Ebola including fever, red eyes and general weakness, tested negative.
The suspect had been referred to Kampala for treatment after screening at Entebbe Airport.
However, after the tests were done at Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe, they came out negative. The spokesperson of Ministry of Health, Ms Rukia Nakamatte said: “The results came in and it is not a case.”