from HASSAN ONYANGO in Kampala, Uganda
KAMPALA, (CAJ News) – UGANDA has declared the end of the Ebola disease outbreak, which nonetheless left 55 people dead.
The announcement less than four months after the first case was confirmed in the country’s central Mubende district.
“Uganda put a swift end to the Ebola outbreak by ramping up key control measures such as surveillance, contact tracing and infection, prevention and control,” said Jane Ruth Aceng Ocero, Uganda’s Minister of Health.
“While we expanded our efforts to put a strong response in place across the nine affected districts, the magic bullet has been our communities who understood the importance of doing what was needed to end the outbreak, and took action.”
It was Uganda’s first ebola-virus outbreak in a decade and its fifth overall for this kind of Ebola.
In total there were 162 cases.
More than 4 000 people who came in contact with confirmed cases were followed up and their health monitored for 21 days.
The last patient was released from care on 30 November when the 42-day countdown to the end of the outbreak began.
“I congratulate Uganda for its robust and comprehensive response which has resulted in today’s victory against Ebola,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), said on Wednesday.
“Uganda has shown that Ebola can be defeated when the whole system works together, from having an alert system in place, to finding and caring for people affected and their contacts, to gaining the full participation of affected communities in the response.”
WHO provided nearly US$6,5 million to Uganda’s response and an additional $3 million to support readiness in neighbouring countries.
These comprise the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya (DRC), Rwanda, Tanzania and South Sudan.
Neighbouring countries remain on alert.
– CAJ News