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Ebola Research Unit Opens at Fort Portal Hospital :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Ebola Research Unit Opens at Fort Portal Hospital

The seven roomed facility comprises of offices, a laboratory, three isolation rooms each capable of admitting six patients, nursing station, clinical care area and a clinical research site. The facility has also been fenced to prevent Ebola or Marburg patients from getting into contact with the community or other patients at the hospital. .
The Ebola isolation and research unit at Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital

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An isolation research unit for Ebola and other severe infectious diseases has been established at Fort Portal Regional referral hospital in Kabarole district.

The facility is a shared effort between the Joint Mobile Emerging Disease Intervention Clinical Capability (JMEDICC) in conjunction with Makerere University Walter Reed Project (MUWRP) and the Infectious Disease Institute.

Dr Hannah Kibuuka, the Principal Investigator of the JMEDICC program says that the facility will be used to conduct research, as well as tests on drugs that can be used for the treatment of Ebola, Marburg and other highly infectious diseases.

Dr Kibuuka says that the facility will also be a training centre for medical workers on management of severe infections in the country.

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The seven roomed facility comprises of offices, a laboratory, three isolation rooms each capable of admitting six patients, nursing station, clinical care area and a clinical research site.  The facility has also been fenced to prevent Ebola or Marburg patients from getting into contact with the community or other patients at the hospital. .

According to Dr Kibuuka, the facility was set up in Fort Portal, because of its proximity to the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC, where there have been several outbreaks of Ebola. She adds that patients suffering from Ebola and Marburg will also be treated at the unit and will be closely monitored by the health workers.

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She says that the national and local Ebola task forces in the country will be incorporated in the research since they are key in case of an outbreak.

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Uganda has in the past reported Ebola outbreaks in Bundibugyo and Gulu districts.

In 2007, 148 people were infected with the disease in Bundibugyo and 37 of them died. Among the dead were three medical workers Dr Jonah Kule, the officer in charge of Nyahuka Health Centre, Rose Bulindigya, a senior nursing officer at Bundibugyo Hospital and Joshua Kule, the medical clinical officer Kikyo Health Centre III.

In 2000, an outbreak of Ebola in Gulu also killed 224 people and infected 425. Among the dead was Dr Matthew Lukwiya who was at the time heading St Mary's Hospital, Lacor.

The World Health Organization and the World Bank have in the past hailed Uganda for dealing with the Ebola epidemic.