The Ministry of Health with support from several partners has anchored a post Ebola recovery plan to address the different gaps that were identified during the recent fight against Ebola.
Last year on 20th September, the Ministry of Health declared an outbreak of Ebola in Uganda following a confirmation of a case in Mubende district. By 11th January this year, the outbreak had been declared over with a cumulative 142 confirmed cases and 55 deaths and a total of 9 districts were affected that include Mubende, Kassanda, Kyegegwa, Bunyangabu, Kagadi, Masaka, Kampala, Wakiso and Jinja.
Following the post Ebola recovery plan, the Ministry of Health considered conducting solidarity vaccine trial activities under the World Health Organization(WHO) stewardship and other vaccine development activities, and this geared towards recovery and future prevention of the virus due to the fact that the Ebola virus re-emerging is still high.
During the post Ebola recovery plan review meeting, the Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng Ocero said, the recovery plan builds on lessons learnt from the previous viral outbreaks, it is developed in line with WHO guidance and implemented under the support of the Ministry of Health and its partners. “Following after Ebola accountability forum by the Ministry and partners last month, it gave us a lot of information on what we need to do to put an end to epidemics.” she said.
“Thank you for the support in controlling the Ebola outbreak in a record time of 69 days” Dr. Aceng said in appreciation of the technical and financial support given by all the partners.
While presenting the post Ebola recovery plan, Dr. Solome Okware noted that WHO recommends a 180 days enhanced surveillance period following the end of a disease outbreak in a particular area.
Priorities for implementation in this recovery plan were identified following what transpired from the accountability forum and several visits to the responding districts; surveillance is among the key priorities that were highlighted in the recovery plan.
According to Dr. Aceng, there was a delay in the identification of Ebola and it occurred against the background of undetected deaths in communities. “The recovery plan therefore focuses on building effective surveillance capacity that can improve case detection and stimulate quick response.” she said.
Dr. Aceng said Infection Prevention Control (IPC) was a huge problem during the outbreak due to the fact that many health workers got infected and this was because of poor infection and control methods in facilities. One of the priorities in the recovery plan includes case management which involves prevention and control in the virus infection.
“Other key priorities considered in the recovery plan will draw in comprehensive support of survivors, strengthening laboratory systems in the country, and establishing a multi-disciplinary team of responders ready for deployment when emergencies occur in the country” Dr. Aceng said.
The Ministry of Health and its partners like Ambassador of America Natalie Brown, Deputy Ambassador of Norway, United Nations Resident Coordinator Susan Ngongi Namondo, the WHO representative Yonas Tegegn Woldermariam and other officials from different organizations declared that there are already mobilized resources available to support the different components of the plan and they also agreed to jointly monitor the implementation plan and convene an accountability forum periodically.
In the recovery plan, the overall budget for the implementation is Shs 120,250,608,091. Priority areas like supporting the pre-planned solidarity vaccine trial activities were allocated Shs. 4,053,441,800. And other priorities like the establishing of mobile field laboratories were allocated Shs 14,845,800,000.
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