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Uganda Red Cross Society community-based approaches see Uganda pass the 7th wave of the Ebola Viral Disease.

Friday, 13 January 2023 13:41
The Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng addressing the public at mayor’s.
gardens in Mubende District during the Public declaration for the end of Ebola
in Uganda on 11th January 2023.

The Ministry of Health together with the World Health Organization, declared Uganda Ebola Free on 11th, January,2023. “We have successfully controlled the spread of Ebola in Uganda and we now declare Uganda Ebola outbreak free.” Said Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the Health Minister in Uganda while addressing the public in Mubende District.
The Minister also added that Ebola has been with us for 113 days since the outbreak 55 people have died, including at least six health workers.

Uganda Red Cross Society Interventions.

With support from partners; International Federation of the Red cross (IFRC) and Red Crescent, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Food Program (WFP), ECHO, ICRC under the coordination of the the Ministry of Health (M.O.H), Uganda Red Cross Society has responded to the Ebola viral Disease in the Mubende, Kasanda, Kyegegwa, Masaka and Jinja Districts through implementing different activities under the following pillars:

  • Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE)
  • Case Management
  •  Surveillance (Community Based Surveillance)
  •   Mental Health (Psychosocial support)
  • Coordination 
URCS SDB team caring a body in a body bag, ahead of a safe and dignified
burial in one of the affected communities in Mubende.

The National Society (URCS) has supported to carry out safe and dignified burials for all deaths that occurred due EVD, and other diseases since the President guided that all deaths should be managed by trained burial teams (SDB).
URCS deployed over 3000 Volunteers at the community level to carry out Risk Communication and Community Engagement activities at community level, Water Hygiene and Sanitation services (WASH), Data collection by using the kobo collection tool, Contact tracing for all probable cases, training of the Village Health Teams (VHT’s), Ambulance services and referrals to Ebola Treatment Units and other designated health centers,  picking cases from communities and above all, offered psychosocial support to the affected families and community members.

Community Engagement is key when implementing behavioral change activities. In Africa, families are used to burying their own. During Ebola response, the families could not burry their people as a safety and disease prevention measure. They needed to be prepared, taken through the reasons why for them to appreciate and allow trained teams to bury the dead.

Uganda has been declared Ebola Free, what next for the affected communities?

Uganda Red Cross Ambulance team in Mubende District picking a suspected
Ebola patient from the community for referral .

The Director Health and Social Services at Uganda Red Cross Dr. Josephine Okwera said” we are now looking at a proper phase out, we are still in the communities as we continue with the community based surveillance where we have large number of Uganda Red Cross volunteers and village health teams . working within their villages to be vigilant and observe what is taking place in their villages and report appropriately.

Dr. Okwera also acknowledges the indispensable work done by the volunteers of Uganda Red Cross with support from partners in ensuring that they curb the spread of the deadly virus.

Whereas other players may step down, the Uganda Red Cross teams will continue working in the community to help community members settle in and also adopt behaviors that will keep away the virus.

“Epidemics begin and end in communities. When we engage communities, they adopt desired behavior and pick up safety skills and knowledge required to keep communities safe. We wish to keep supporting communities when we are not in an emergency mode like we’ve been. They also learn signs and symptoms, as well as the modalities and channels they have to use to report any cases that occur within their communities for immediate response by the Health care workers. ” Okwera added.

Water Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) facilities have been placed in schools
and markets, as well as other public places to promote hand washing as
one of the ways for preventing the spread of Ebola.

Through his social media handles, The Secretary General of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Jagan Chapagain extended a big congratulatory message to Uganda and more so to the Uganda Red Cross for this big achievement. “Congratulations Uganda! The Country once again led the local efforts to tackle an Ebola outbreak. Proud of the Uganda Red Cross Society and IFRC teams responding at the community level since day one.” We thank all the partners who support local action. ”Jagan added.

Background.
Different African health authorities have made a collaborative effort to boost their readiness to counter to Ebola after a devastating outbreak of the Zaire strain of the disease in West Africa between 2014 and 2016 that killed 11,300 people, mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

On 20th September 2022 the Ministry of Health together with the World Health Organization declared an Ebola outbreak that occurred in Mubende District, Uganda. The first victim was a 24-year-old man residing in Ngabano village in Madudu subcounty. The Ebola virus then spread in the nearby area of Kagadi before spreading to other Districts including the Uganda Capital, Kampala.
Ebola causes vomiting, bleeding and diarrhoea and spreads through contact with infected people’s bodily fluids.

Director Health and Social Services, URCS, Dr. Josephine Okwera addressing
the media in Mubende District during the end of Ebola outbreak declaration
on 11th January, 2023.

The virus can sometimes linger in the eyes, central nervous system and bodily fluids of survivors and flare up years later. According to the Ministry of Health, 143 cases were confirmed, 22 probable cases and 55 deaths were reported with a case of fertility rate of 39%.

In October, the Government imposed travel restrictions, an overnight curfew and closed down places of worship and entertainment to try to contain the outbreak in central Uganda, but several cases later appeared in the capital and east of the country. In December 2022, Uganda discharged its last known Ebola patient from hospital and President Yoweri Museveni lifted all Ebola-related movement restrictions which marked the beginning of activities that later saw the Pearl of Africa free after 4 months of the outbreak.

The Uganda Red Cross Society is proud to have been a key player in fighting the deadly Ebola viral disease.


Read 29 times Last modified on Sunday, 15 January 2023 13:52

URCS Contacts

Plot 551/555 Rubaga Road.
P.O. Box 494, Kampala Uganda.
Tel:     (256) 414 258701
Tel:     (256) 414 258702
Email: sgurcs@redcrossug.org

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