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Ebola Threat: Hoima Health Officials Concerned Over Congolese Businessmen Sneaking Into Uganda

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Dr. Fredrick Kugonza, the Hoima District Disease Surveillance Officer, says such people are a huge concern to health workers and local authorities trying to prevent any further cross-border contamination.
A man looks through an Ebola screening Center at Kaiso landing site Hoima district.

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Health officials in Hoima district are concerned about the entry of Congolese businessmen taking advantage of ungazzetted landing sites along Lake Albert shores to cross into Uganda without being screened for Ebola.

The Congolese businessmen cross into Uganda during night hours through the porous border to transact business without being screened for Ebola and sneak back in their country.

Dr. Fredrick Kugonza, the Hoima District Disease Surveillance Officer, says such people are a huge concern to health workers and local authorities trying to prevent any further cross-border contamination.           

He says such people could be unknowingly carrying the deadly Ebola virus and hindering their efforts to control the spread of the disease in the District.

 

//Cue in: ”Along those porous… 

Cue out:…Gazzeted border points.”//.   

Kugonza says they have so far investigated 10 suspected Ebola cases in the district that all turned up negative. 

He says they have instituted a number of measures to ensure that members of the public remain vigilant and report suspected cases.   

//Cue in:” No we don’t…    

Cue out:…is very ready.”//.   

Jacob Okumu, a resident of Kaiso landing site wonders why other landing sites have not been equipped with Ebola screening equipment despite being used by Congolese national to cross into Uganda.

//Cue in: ”Government should do… 

Cue out:…affected with Ebola.”//.

   

Robert Gingyera, a resident of Mbegu landing site in Buseruka Sub County, says at times Congolese refugees and businessmen arrive at night using the ungazetted border points and mix freely with the local communities. 

He wants government to establish Ebola screening centers on landing sites in the area.  

//Cue in: ”I could request…

Cue out:…sites bordering DR Congo.”//. 

Cosmas Kiiza, the Kabaale Sub county LC3 Chairperson calls for immediate government intervention to ensure that all landing sites have fully fledged Ebola screening centers, saying there is uncontrolled movement of Congolese nationals.   

//Cue in:”Hansonga ya bantu…

 

Cue out:…Buli burwaire bubimuno.”//.    

Samuel Kisembo, the Hoima Resident district Commissioner-RDC, says efforts are being made to ensure that all the landing sites in the district have Ebola screening centers.  

He says the district is liaising with Partners like the United Nations High Commissioners for Refugees-UNHCR and e World vision to ensure that all the landing sites receive the required Ebola screening  equipment to respond to any emergencies.    

There are 15 landing sites in Hoima district but only four of them have Ebola screening centers. These include Kaiso, Hoimo,Runga and Waaki landing sites. 

In June, the Health Ministry confirmed three Ebola cases in Kasese district near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo-DRC.    

DRC declared their tenth Ebola outbreak in 40 years on August 1, 2018.  

The outbreak is centered in the northeast of the country, in North Kivu and Ituri province with the number of cases having surpassed 3,000. North Kivu shares a border with Uganda to the east and sees a lot of trade, as well as human traffic and “irregular” crossings. 

Some communities live on both sides of the border and cross back and forth frequently to visit relatives or trade goods.

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