Kato Besisira, the Kanungu Assistant District Health Officer in charge of Environmental health who is also the Chairperson of the district Ebola Taskforce told our reporter that screening facilities have been placed at the Ishasha and Butogota entry points to make sure that any person crossing to Uganda is thoroughly checked.
There is heightened surveillance by Kanungu
district health officials at the common border with the Democratic Republic of
Congo-DRC following the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease.
On October 8th, 2021, DRC’s Minister
of Public Health, Hygiene and Prevention, Dr. Jean-Jacques Mbungani Mbanda
confirmed the outbreak of Ebola in Butsili Health Area, Beni North Kivu province,
about 162 miles to the Uganda-DRC border of Kanungu.
This followed the death
of a 3-year-old boy in a local health facility on October 6, 2021. He lived in the same community where three
family members died in September after presenting Ebola-like symptoms,
according to Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional
Director for Africa.
The minor first developed symptoms including physical weakness, loss of appetite,
abdominal pain, breathing difficulty, dark stool and blood in his vomit. On 7 October 2021, the National Institute of Biomedical
Research (INRB) laboratory in Beni tested his samples for molecular analysis.
They were later sent to the Rodolphe Mérieux INRB Laboratory, Goma on 8 October, which
confirmed Ebola by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) on
the same day. Now, Kato Besisira, the Kanungu Assistant
District Health Officer in charge of Environmental health who is also
the Chairperson of the district Ebola Taskforce told our reporter that
screening facilities have been placed at the Ishasha and Butogota entry
points to make sure that any person crossing to Uganda is thoroughly
He says that the health workers deployed at
the border screening areas received virtual training on how to handle people
crossing from DR Congo to Uganda with the help of the Ministry of health. Besisira
also says that they have already notified all the implementing partners in the district like Red Cross and United
Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) among others to intervene and
provide help in case of any need.
He also says that they are now conducting several
meetings with all health workers as a way of getting prepared to
handle the situation in case they register a case. Besisira however says that they are facing a
challenge of lack of Personal Protective Equipment for health workers to
protect them from getting in direct contact with the suspected cases.
//Cue in: “we have two…
Cue out: …of Ebola.”//
Hajji Shafiq Ssekandi, Kanungu
Resident District Commissioner says that they have already started a
sensitization campaign through local radio stations to make locals aware of the outbreak in DR Congo and how that can get prevent
Ssekandi urges locals to remain vigilant and report
any suspected cases to relevant health authorities. He also asks them to avoid
unnecessary crossings to DR Congo. Ebola vaccination started in Beni on
Wednesday last week with “1,000 doses of rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine. Other
medical supplies were delivered from the capital Kinshasa to the city of
Goma in North Kivu.
Nearly 200 doses were sent to Beni, near the health area of
Butsili where the confirmed case was detected," according to WHO.
Dr Michel Kaseraka Tosalisana, the chief medical officer of the Beni health zone and coordinator of the local
Ebola response committee in North Kivu Province, says that health officials are
monitoring the disease at the