Ebola fears:Frontline workers vaccinated in Uganda

Share

The head of the United Nations' peacekeeping operations has vowed to do more with Democratic Republic of Congo's government to help improve security in the country's east, where attacks by rebels are affecting efforts to contain an Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 150 people.

The vaccinations began on Wednesday and are part of a wider Ebola prevention plan in a country that has faced multiple Ebola outbreaks since 2000.

Uganda's Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng said she believes that the administration of the Ebola vaccine to frontline healthcare workers has been the missing link in the country's EVD preparation and readiness efforts.

"The virus has killed 186 people in the North Kivu and Ituri regions, while 88 others have been cured, " the ministry said on Monday.

The vaccinations are crucial to stemming transmission "in a highly endemic belt for hemorrhagic fevers", said Anthony Mbonye, a professor of health sciences at Uganda's Makerere University.

According to the World Health Organization, no less than 2,100 doses of experimental rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine are now available in the east African country, while supplementary doses have been requested. They say unofficial border crossings also are a cause for concern.

"Uganda has taken a very huge step in mitigating the risk of Ebola among health workers".

More news: Eight feared dead after two buildings collapse in France
More news: Godolphin runner Cross Counter wins 2018 Melbourne Cup
More news: Protesters call for protection of Russian Federation probe after Sessions resigns

The rVSV-Ebola vaccine is now being administered in DRC and is demonstrating positive protective results and potency against the Ebola virus-Zaire type.

Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, WHO's Uganda representative said, "In previous [Ebola] outbreaks, Uganda lost health workers, including the renowned Dr Matthew Lukwiya, as they cared for patients".

The WHO said last month that Congo's outbreak does not yet warrant being declared a global emergency but called for an "intensified" response.

Earlier this month, the health ministry said it will install health checkpoints at the entrances to all polling stations in Congo's Ebola-affected region during the December presidential election, when millions of Congolese are expected to come out to vote. The conflict slows healthcare workers' attempts to fight the virus.

Ebola is a deadly viral infection that was first detected and identified in 1976.

It is highly likely that Uganda may import EVD from DRC given the closeness of the current epicenter, the high population movements due to trade, social-cultural connections and easy accessibility of health services in Uganda.

Share