Second Ebola death confirmed in Uganda as UN health agency mulls global emergency call

Uganda – Ebola deaths – Library photo

A fourth suspect case – a 23-year-old man from Mukungu village in Katwe – is also awaiting lab confirmation and some 27 contacts of the victims have been identified so far, the health ministry statement added.

Response plan measures include ban on public gatherings

The Ugandan authorities also said that the Minister of Health, WHO’s Country Representative and other partners had met at Bwera Hospital on Wednesday to discuss an action plan.

Initial measures to prevent the transmission of Ebola include a ban on mass gatherings such as markets, the vaccination of contacts and health workers, and a public information radio campaign to allay concerns and rumours about the outbreak.

Alongside WHO, UN Children’s Fund UNICEF announced that it had launched an emergency Ebola response plan in Uganda, in response to the latest developments.

The move follows months of preparedness and prevention efforts as Ebola cases have continued increase in DRC, where there have been more than 2,000 infections and nearly 1,400 deaths in the country’s worst recorded outbreak after it began last August.

“As our thoughts are with this young boy’s family, this is a tragic reminder that even one case of Ebola is one too many,” said UNICEF Representative in Uganda, Dr. Doreen Mulenga. “We must do everything possible to stop this outbreak in its tracks and prevent other needless deaths.”

In recent months, UNICEF has supported the Government of Uganda implement extensive programmes to make sure communities in numerous districts in western Uganda bordering the DRC are prepared for a potential outbreak.

Seeking professional medical help quickly ‘a priority’, says UNICEF

With the aim of empowering communities in numerous districts in western Uganda bordering the DRC against a potential Ebola outbreak, UNICEF has already made nearly 350,000 household visits to share information about the disease and the importance of seeking help quickly.

More than 14,000 public meetings have also been held at schools, churches, mosques, markets, bus stops and funeral gatherings to discuss Ebola prevention, reaching around 2.4 million people.

Other measures include building capacity for infection prevention and control in health facilities through water, sanitation and hygiene interventions, and training nearly 1,500 Uganda Red Cross volunteers and para-social workers to support communities dealing with Ebola-related stress.

“Awareness is the best way to prevent the spread of this virus,” said Dr. Mulenga. “Strategically communicating the correct knowledge and best practices to affected communities is critical to doing so.”

SOURCE UN News Centre

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