Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General of the World Health Organization visits the Viral Heamorraghic Fever (EVF) labs at the Uganda Virus Research Institute
Kampala, 17th June, 2019- Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General of the World Health Organization has commended the Uganda Virus Research Institute and her partners including the Medical Research Council/Uganda Virus Research Institute and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (MRC/UVRI and LSHTM) Uganda Research Unit for their efforts in Ebola surveillance and preparedness, in the wake of confirmed Ebola cases in the country.
The Uganda Virus Research Institute leads the testing and detection of Viral Haemorrhagic Fever (VHF) cases in the country, including Ebola while the MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit is involved in Ebola vaccine trials.
During his visit to the Entebbe-based Institute, Dr. Tedros was given a tour of the laboratories, including the VHF lab, where testing for Ebola currently takes place and the MRC/UVRI and LSHTM virology and immunology laboratories.
He was escorted by Professor Pontiano Kaleebu, Director of MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit, and the Uganda Virus Research Institute. Professor Kaleebu said: "The Uganda Virus Research Institute and her partners including the MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit appreciate the support of the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders such as the WHO that has greatly improved Ebola preparedness and surveillance, and quickened response in Uganda.”
Dr. Tedros, who was in the country to assess the country’s Ebola surveillance and preparedness efforts had earlier met the President of the Republic of Uganda, HE Yoweri Museveni to discuss the country’s Ebola situation and other health issues. The duo agreed that bipartisan political alignment and preparedness is key to ending the outbreak in partnership with neighboring DRC.
Dr. Tedros said, “We need to invest in preparedness. The smartest investment is in Preparedness”.
The Ministry of Health and partners have implemented Ebola preparedness and readiness activities to prevent the disease from crossing into Uganda, and to ensure early detection of the disease. The activities include coordinating the preparedness activities, strengthening surveillance, capacity building in contact tracing, laboratory diagnostics, Infection Prevention, and Control, clinical management of patients including psycho-social care.
Ebola in Uganda
On 11 June 2019, the Ugandan Ministry of Health confirmed a case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Kasese district, Uganda, almost a year after the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) declared an EVD outbreak in North Kivu Province, close to the DRC-Uganda border.
Tests on a 5-year-old child who traveled with his family from the DRC returned positive for Ebola at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI). The child passed on in the early hours of 12 June 2019. Following confirmation of the first case, three people have since succumbed to the disease.
The Ministry of Health has since confirmed that the disease has been contained, and a part from Kasese, no other district in the country has registered any Ebola case.