The Uganda Ministry of Health has received ten motorcycles from the World Health Organization (WHO) with support from Irish Embassy to enhance the surveillance and community engagement pillars in Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) preparedness activities.
The motorcycles will enable district officers to mentor health staff at the health facilities and in the communities on the identification of alerts or suspected EVD cases, conduct prompt investigations and raise community index of suspicion for EVD.
The motorcycles will be deployed in the eight (8) high-risk districts bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The districts are: Bundibugyo, Bunyangabu, Kanungu, Kasese, Kisoro, Kanunugu, Kabarole, and Packwach.
The boost to Uganda’s Ebola preparedness activities comes at a time when there is an escalation of EVD cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As of 01st May, a total of 1,495 cases have been confirmed with 984 succumbed to the disease.
Receiving the motorcycles, Minister for Health, Hon. Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng said, “this is yet another milestone in our preparedness activities against the deadly EVD outbreak that is currently ravaging DRC.”
She added that surveillance and community engagement are the backbone of an effective response to outbreaks and the motorcycles “come in handy to maneuver the difficult terrains of these districts.”
The Irish Ambassador to Uganda, His Excellency William Carlos expressed his Government’s delight for supporting Uganda’s EVD preparedness activities.
“Despite challenging circumstances, a lot has been achieved to keep Ebola out of Uganda and this is attributed to the risks and challenges undertaken by the frontline health workers as well as such strong partnerships with the Government of Uganda,” he said.
While handing over the motorcycles, the World Health Organization Country Representative in Uganda, Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam lauded the Government of Uganda for the excellent coordination of a comprehensive preparedness exercise and sustained implementation of a robust package of interventions in the high-risk districts.
“As we hand over the motorcycles, we need to acknowledge the enormous needs for the mobility of responders in the districts to quickly cover up the communities with public health actions that reduce their vulnerability to EVD,” Dr. Yonas added.
Uganda has no confirmed case of EVD. Active case search continues in all communities, health facilities and on formal and informal border crossing in all districts, especially in the high-risk ones.
Alert cases continue to be picked, isolated, treated and blood samples picked for testing by the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI).