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Shortage of Health Workers Hampers Ebola Surveillance in Kanungu

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Dr. Stephen Ssebude, the Kanungu District Health Officer, says despite the shortage of Health Workers to carry out surveillance at some entry points, they are sensitizing the public to avoid hand shaking, embrace hand washing with soap and report any suspected case to health authorities.
15 Jun 2019 13:42
An Ebola awareness message poster at Kihihi Health Centre IV

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The inadequate number of health workers is hampering Ebola surveillance along the Uganda-Democratic Republic Congo (DRC) border in Kanungu district.  The inadequate number of health workers is unable to man the various entry points in the district.   

Hajji Shafique Ssekandi Senjoba, the Chairperson Kanungu District Ebola Task Force who doubles as the Resident District Commissioner, says the district has only managed to deploy health workers at 18 of the 45 official entry points to screen people entering the country. 

He says the remaining 27 entry points are not covered, which exposes the district to high risk of Ebola.  Ssekandi explains that on a weekly basis, about 2000 Congolese nationals cross to Uganda through Kanungu to trade as well as seek health services.

//Cue in: “Ekizibu Kanungu ekitwiine...

Cue out: …Ebola neyita.”//

Dr. Stephen Ssebude, the Kanungu District Health Officer, says despite the shortage of Health Workers to carry out surveillance at some entry points, they are sensitizing the public to avoid hand shaking, embrace hand washing with soap and report any suspected case to health authorities.

Ssebude says that they have embarked on the construction of a Shillings 1.3 billion isolation unit at Kihihi Health Centre IV in Kihihi Town council with funding from the World Food Program. He says the World Food Program has also given Kanungu district health department a brand new ambulance registration number UG 5593M to ease transportation of suspected Ebola victims to the isolation unit.   

James Kaberuka, the Kinkiizi West Member of Parliament, says the decision by the World Food Program to provide funds towards the construction of an isolation unit and donate an ambulance to the district is a very big step in the fight against Ebola.

//Cue in: “We want to…

Cue out: …intended objective.”//

The first confirmed case of Ebola was a five-year-old boy whose parents had travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo to participate in a burial of a relative. He died on Wednesday. Three suspected Ebola victims escaped from the isolation at Kihihi Health Centre IV in Kihihi town council in Kanungu district on Wednesday.  

Saddi Muhima 46, his son Issa Muhima 19 and Milton Nsenga, all from DRC had been admitted in isolation on Wednesday when they presented with Ebola like symptom shortly after arriving at Munyaga border crossing in Western ward in Butogota town council in Kanungu district from DRC.

However, they escaped as the health workers were preparing to draw blood samples from them and rush them to Uganda Virus Research Institute-UVRI Entebbe for examination.   According to statistics from the World Health Organization - WHO, there have been 2,025 cases Ebola and 1,357 deaths from the virus during the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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