Kampala, Uganda, November 7, 2022 — Nearly 50 days since the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in Uganda was announced, the situation is still grim as the number of cases continues to rise. Recent reports from the Ministry of Health (MoH) indicate 132 cases and a death toll of 51 people including at least sixhealth workers. The IRC is concerned about the Ebola situation in the country and calls for more funding to support response efforts particularly in health systems strengthening, improving contact tracing, activating community health structures for this specific response, social mobilization and intensifying sensitization through mass media.
Elijah Okeyo, IRC Uganda Country Director said,
“The IRC stands with the families that have lost their loved ones and pledges to continue supporting efforts to contain the outbreak. As the MoH explores treatment options and vaccines for this specific strain of Ebola, we must be cognizant of the fact that these trials take time and early detection is paramount for most of these treatments to work. To reduce the rate of infection and further loss of life, mitigation efforts including contact tracing, risk communication, intense public sensitization and engaging community health structures are vital in the interim. All these interventions require immense financial resources and expertise to effectively execute. The IRC therefore calls for increased funding for aid agencies to support ongoing efforts to sever the current rapid spread of this deadly disease.”
The IRC has extensive experience in Ebola virus infection prevention and control activities. IRC responded to the 2019 outbreak in Uganda as well as several outbreaks since 2018 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The IRC works on women’s and girls’ protection and integrating Ebola-related protection concerns in areas where the IRC supports primary health care services. The IRC also worked to contain the 2014-2016 West Africa outbreak in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The IRC began programming in 1998 in northern Uganda in response to mass displacement wrought by the Lord's Resistance Army. Since then, the IRC has expanded to provide critical services for refugees and vulnerable Ugandans throughout the country. The IRC started supporting refugees and vulnerable individuals in Kampala in 2012. As of 2019, the IRC entered the Tooro region to support refugees while also providing epidemic preparedness and response services throughout the region. In addition to emergency support, the IRC also invests in long-term stability for refugees and Ugandans through programs like immunization, family planning, legal services, women's empowerment, education, and livelihoods. More recently, the IRC was involved in supporting Afghan evacuees in Uganda.
Notes to editors:
The IRC in collaboration with the MoH has been conducting several interventions to support ongoing efforts in areas we serve including:
- Supporting both the national and district task forces in planning and coordination of preparedness efforts.
- Engaging respective district disaster management committees to review and update contingency plans.
- Conducting surveillance and subsequent risk communication through IRC supported health facilities.
- Strengthening the capacity of community health structures such as village health teams to identify possible cases and refer them to health facilities and sensitize communities.
- Conducting case management training for health workers stationed at both IRC and public health facilities in areas of operation.
- Carrying out simulation exercises for health workers and ambulance drivers in preparation for direct response if cases are confirmed in IRC areas of operation