KASESE – World Health Organization (WHO) has on Wednesday, June 12, confirmed that the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is ready to take back it’s Ebola-diagnosed citizen patients from Kasese in Western Uganda.
This follows a cross border meeting that was attended by DRC delegates, WHO officials and Uganda’s Ministry of Health this morning.
“DRC and Uganda have agreed that the sick Ebola patients currently in Uganda should be repatriated back to DRC where they can get therapeutic care which is not available in Uganda,” WHO reports.
The International organization confirms that the patients have also agreed to go back.
“The DRC delegation has come with a fully equipped ambulance, therefore set to take six people back to DRC,” WHO revealed.
The DRC delegation has also brought 400 doses of the Ebola vaccine to help Uganda in containing the deadly epidemic.
The delegation says it’s a good opportunity that Uganda detected the cases as early as they did.
“It should be an opportunity to contain the outbreak early.”
Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng has commended DRC for being supportive to Uganda at such times and especially to the affected brothers and sisters from both sides of the border.
According to Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo, WHO is to ship in 3,500 doses of the EVD vaccines and vaccination exercise is scheduled to start as soon as Friday.
“I also emphasized coordination and district leadership as the factors that will lead to quick containment of this outbreak,” he added.
Uganda’s Ministry of Health on Tuesday, June 10, confirmed the Ebola outbreak in Kasese District.
This was prompted by the recent news of a 5-year-old boy that was admitted and isolated at Bwera Hospital’s Ebola Treatment Unit.
However, the Ebola-infected boy passed on last night and his death is the first to be announced in Uganda. This follows a deadly outbreak in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.
More than 2,000 cases have been recorded in DRC in the last 10 months – most of which have been fatal.
The deceased boy crossed into Uganda with his family in Bwera, near the Congolese city of Butembo.
The Congolese Health Ministry told WHO that the family was traveling from Mabalako.
Both Mabalako and Butembo have experienced intense Ebola cases of late, Minister Aceng told the media on Tuesday.
This website independently verified that the boy’s mother is of Congolese origin but his father is Ugandan; they live in Uganda, near the border. The family had traveled to DRC to see the woman’s father who had died from Ebola in late May 2019.
A group of 14 family members set off to return to Uganda, arriving at a village called Kasindi near the border on June 10.
The group comprised of seven children, ranging from 7 months to 12 years of age.
When they arrived at Kasindi, 12 members of the group were experiencing symptoms, and they stopped there at a health facility.
They were directed to an isolation center, but then six members of the family fled the facility, crossing into Uganda, said the Congolese Health Ministry, which alerted Ugandan authorities of the family’s movements.
The group that crossed the border included the boy, his mother, and four others.
WHO Country Office in Uganda said that after crossing the border, the group sought care at a hospital in Kagando, where health workers recognized the boy was likely to be infected with Ebola.
The boy was transferred to an Ebola treatment center at Bwera, one of the facilities Uganda has set up in anticipation of the possibility of seeing cases imported from DRC.
While there the boy was tested and found to be positive with the deadly Ebola virus.
For months, Uganda has been preparing for the possibility that a case arising from the outbreak in DRC could spill into its territory.
Uganda, South Sudan, and Rwanda have been vaccinating various medical workers in many health facilities near their borders with DRC.
Uganda has vaccinated nearly 5,000 medical workers at 165 health facilities, including both the one where the boy was being treated and the one at Kagando where his family first stopped for care.
What is Ebola?
Ebola is a virus that initially causes sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, and a sore throat.
It progresses to vomiting, diarrhea which causes both internal and external bleeding.
People are infected when they have direct contact through broken skin, or the mouth and nose, with the blood, vomit, feaces or bodily fluids of someone infected with Ebola.
Patients tend to die from dehydration and multiple organ failure