Ebola is no longer threatening Ugandans, and Africa as a whole, thanks to the country’s heroic efforts in successfully controlling the rare Sudan strain of this most recent outbreak. Uganda Minister of Health Dr. Jane Aceng officially declared the nation Ebola-free after 42 days with no active cases, in line with World Health Organization standards.
“I salute Uganda for effectively controlling this outbreak despite the fact that it invaded its largest city,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “Rich countries with an abundance of resources could learn a lot from Uganda.”
The country program director for AHF Uganda Cares, Henry Magala, added – “This is significant for us as a country program. We are glad to have supported Uganda’s outbreak response 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.”
The recently ended outbreak began last September and affected five districts, including Mubende (the epicenter) and the capital city Kampala, resulting in 143 confirmed cases and 55 fatalities. This was the eighth Ebola outbreak in Uganda since 2000 when the nation saw its first and deadliest occurrence, which killed more than 200 people.
“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 AHF Africa Bureau Chief Dr. Penninah Iutung. “Uganda has shown remarkable leadership in its Ebola response through improving monitoring and alert systems, building the capacity of healthcare workers to respond swiftly to emergencies, strengthening contact tracing mechanisms and linkage, mobilizing partner support, and increasing community sensitization and involvement – which have all been instrumental to this success.”
AHF lost two doctors in West Africa during the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak. The organization has continued to advocate for improved public health emergency response systems anchored on global equity and cooperation while supporting government efforts across its 45 country teams. This win by Uganda again demonstrates there are lessons to be learned from the African continent in containing, averting, and responding to public health emergencies.
AHF has been working in Uganda since 2002 and currently provides HIV/AIDS care and treatment to more than 146,600 registered patients.