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Uganda Raises Ebola Preparedness As DRC Goes to Polls

Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the Health Minister, says they are not leaving anything to chance because the first responsibility of her ministry to protect Ugandans.
Dr.Aceng poses with DRC Health Minister Dr Sem Llunga in Goma

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Uganda has raised its preparedness against the Ebola threat from the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC ahead of the general elections there on Sunday this weekend. 

This follows two Ebola outbreaks in DRC, the most recent taking place in North Kivu Province. The Health Ministry has set up seven isolation wards in Kasese, Bundibudgyo, Fort Portal,Ntoroko, Hoima, Entebbe and Naguru hospitals. 

The Ministry has also been working health development partners to train health workers and village health teams to equip them with skills to easily detect any Ebola cases.

Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the Health Minister, says they are not leaving anything to chance because the first responsibility of her ministry to protect Ugandans.

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Early this month, Dr. Aceng visited her DRC counterpart in Goma to chat ways of ensuring that citizens in both protected from the epidemic during and after Sunday's polls.

Dr. Lillian Nanyunja, the head of Disease Control and Prevention at World Health Organisation-WHO, says that they are worried about the situation that might come up during elections.

"We are worried about what might take place during the elections. So we are highly preparing for any and every outcome to avoid being caught off guard. We are on high alert,” she said.

Data from the Health Ministry shows that over 700 people have been affected by the recent Ebola outbreak. No case has been reported in Uganda yet.

However, over 2000 frontline health workers in Uganda have been vaccinated against the disease using the Ebola rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine that is believed to provide 99 percent protection from the disease.