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Funding Deterring Roll Out of Ebola Test Kit- Prof. Ibingira

Prof. Charles Ibingira, the Principal of the school told journalists on Monday morning that they are only waiting for funding from government to roll out the kit after receiving approval from World Health Organisation last year.

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Makerere University College of Health Sciences has developed a point care testing kit for the Ebola hemorrhagic fever to allow instant confirmation through a blood test.     

Prof. Charles Ibingira, the Principal of the school told journalists on Monday morning that they are only waiting for funding from government to roll out the kit after receiving approval from World Health Organisation last year.    

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While he was hesitant to mention the exact amount of money required, he said the tool will be key in keeping the disease at the bay, since it will cut down on the money spent on screening and transporting samples to laboratories.  

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Developing the test kit started way back in 2015 after one of the researchers at the college Dr. Misaki Wayengera returned from West Africa where he had been dispatched as part of the emergency team to tackle the fever. 

He came back with an idea of developing a point of care kit, which was taken on by the college.  Currently, samples from suspected cases of Ebola have to be transported from the scene or facility to laboratories for confirmation. 

Until recently when a laboratory was set up at the Uganda – DR Congo border at Bwera in Kasese district, all samples had to be transported to the Entebbe based Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI). Before 2007 when this laboratory was opened up, all confirmatory tests for viral fevers would be done in South Africa and the United States. 

Even as the professor didn’t mention the real funds required, last year, the former Health Minister in Charge of General Duties Sarah Opendi told Uganda Radio Network that they need about Shs4billion to have the kit rolled out. Once rolled out, the kit will be used to test for both Ebola and Marburg hemorrhagic fevers.    

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