Miniter Aceng assures on Ebola outbreak in Kampala and Metropolitan areas

The minister for health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng expressed readiness to handle cases of Ebola that popped up in Kampala and the metropolitan area. Dr. Aceng gave assurance during a guided tour around isolation centres in Entebbe and Mulago.

She noted that Entebbe isolation centre has 8 beds in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to handle females and also 8 beds in the ICU for males. There are over 50 other beds at the isolation centre in Entebbe to handle any referred cases.

Mulago isolation centre on the other hand, has a 120 bed capacity and yet, more tents are being set up for a similar cause, according to minister Aceng. The minister took ambassadors from the United States, United Kingdom and Norway for a visit around the two isolation centres in Entebbe and Mulago.

Others included Dr. Mohamed Safieldine, the UNICEF representative to Uganda among other representatives from the World Food Programme and the World Health Organisation. The tour also comprised ministry of health technical people at commissioner level and heads of partner institutions.

“We agreed to bring the ambassadors especially from the countries that give us support to come and see what is on ground so that they are comforted as regards the response but also, as regards some of the investments that the country has been putting in place including support from such donor countries,” noted Dr. Aceng.

She added; “many people are worried about Kampala. Therefore, this is an act of giving some degree of comfort that Kampala will handle.” According to Aceng, there are already permanent isolation facilities in addition to the tents that are being put up.

Construction of the Mulago and Entebbe isolation facilities started way back during the outbreak of Avian influenza. Dr. Christopher Nsereko, who heads Entebbe isolation centre, said, there are currently 36 staff including doctors and nurses among other support staff at Entebbe isolation centre.

Dr. Chiristopher Nsereko (front left) explaining to ambassadors; Elin Johansen (wearing orange trouser) of Norway, minister Jane Ruth Aceng, Ambassador Natalie Brown of US and Rebecca who represented the British High Commissioner among other officials from UNICEF, World Health Organisation and World Food Programme during their visit to Entebbe isolation centre

The isolation facilities were constructed to handle dangerous pathogens. “But this time, we took a decision to set the Entebbe isolation facility aside for health workers and Very Important Persons (VIPs),” noted minister Aceng.

Five medical workers from Mubende who had contracted Ebola, were also treated from the isolation centre in Entebbe and later discharged on October 11. 

Dr. Mohammed Lamorde, the chairperson for case management pillar which is responsible for providing care to people suspected or confirmed to have contracted Ebola, explained the kind of treatment given to Ebola patients and suspects.

“We help to bring people right from the communities to health facilities. When people are confirmed with disease, we ensure that there are appropriate guidelines for their management as we provide them with the highest level of health care,” stated Lamorde.

He further noted that when people get better, the case management team has follow-up measures to ensure survivors continue getting care. “Throughout the treatment process, we are responsible for ensuring that they receive psychosocial support as well as nutrition support. Even when such people die, we ensure their safe and dignified burial,” he explained.

Minister Aceng said, more medics are being recruited and soon, shall be undergoing training on how to handle Ebola cases.

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