(Photo) The Infection Prevention Control Coordinator of the Ministry of Health takes AHF Uganda Cares Mentors through Ebola infection prevention control protocol
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global HIV/AIDS organization, hailed today the Government of Uganda’s heroic efforts in successfully controlling the Ebola Sudan virus (a rare strain of the virus) outbreak, after Uganda’s Minister for Health, Dr Jane Aceng, officially declared the nation Ebola-free during a ceremony to mark the end of the outbreak. This declaration comes after the East African country has gone 42 days with no active cases, in line with standards set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“I salute Uganda for so effectively controlling this outbreak despite the fact that it invaded its largest city. Rich countries with an abundance of resources could learn a lot from Uganda,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
The outbreak, which began about four months ago, affected five districts, including Mubende (the epicentre) and Kampala, resulting in 143 confirmed cases and 55 fatalities – six were among healthcare workers. This was the eighth time Uganda had faced an Ebola outbreak since 2000, when the nation saw its first and deadliest occurrence, which left more than 200 people dead.
“We applaud the government and healthcare workers for rising to the occasion once again and demonstrating that when we work concertedly and put the right systems in place, we can combat public health threats effectively,” said Dr. Penninah Iutung, AHF Africa Bureau Chief. “Uganda has shown remarkable leadership in its Ebola response through improving monitoring and alert systems, building capacity of healthcare workers to respond swiftly to emergencies, strengthening contact tracing mechanisms and linkage, mobilizing partner support, and increasing community sensitisation and involvement – which have all been instrumental to this success.”
This is significant for us as a country program,” said Henry Magala, Country Program Director, AHF Uganda Cares. “We are glad to have contributed to supporting the government’s response during the outbreak through media awareness campaigns on Ebola prevention and control, and contributing to the national roll-out team following the training of 19 AHF Uganda Cares staff as mentors by the Ministry of Health.”
In 2014, AHF lost two of its doctors in West Africa during the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak, and the organization has continued to advocate for improved public health emergency response systems anchored on equity and mutual cooperation globally, while supporting government efforts in different capacities across the 45 countries in which it operates. This win by Uganda again demonstrates that there are lessons to be learnt from the African continent in containing, averting, and responding to public health emergencies.