The Ebola virus has reached Uganda

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Uganda’s experience with Ebola

Zabulan Yoti, director for health emergencies at the Africa regional office of the World Health Organization, is optimistic. “Frontline health workers in the district where they reported the cases were vaccinated. The awareness among them is very high. That’s why they were able to identify these cases quickly, which is not usual because there are other febrile illnesses which look like Ebola and are more common, like malaria. But apart from the vaccination, awareness and using the right protective equipment, we need to work more with the communities.”

Yoti believes that Uganda has the capacity to stop the virus from spreading. Multiple outbreaks have occurred over the years. An outbreak in the north in 2000 infected 425 people, killing more than half. Yoti told DW in an interview: “Let there be no panic because we have done it before. We’ll continue learning. The last two outbreaks in Uganda took about three months which is normal, and we were able to contain it in record time. The virus didn’t spread any farther because of the capacity we have. This particular outbreak, I think we can control it.”

Uganda is using an experimental but effective Ebola vaccine, with more than 130,000 doses distributed. Uganda has vaccinated nearly 4,700 health workers so far. Aceng said in a statement, that “the ministry would like to assure the public that the vaccine is safe and effective and contacts for frontline health and other workers identified for vaccination should willingly take the vaccine for their own and family protection.” She added that Ugandans can be assured that “with expertise and experience available in the country and the over ten months of preparedness, the disease will be contained.”

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