Cabinet approves half a million dollars to curb Ebola

By William Madouk Garang

The Council of Ministries has approved half a million dollars to step-up the surveillance within the Country’s borders, to prevent possible inflow of thee deadly Ebola Virus into the country.

On Tuesday, Ebola outbreak was declared in Uganda after World Health Organization (WHO) and health authorities confirmed a case of the relatively rare Sudan strain in Mubende District in the central part of the country.

The Uganda Virus Research Institute confirmed the case after testing a sample from a 24-year-old male who succumbed to the virus.

Then the National Rapid Response team probed into six suspicious deaths in the district this month. There are currently eight suspected cases being treated in a hospital.

Ebola outbreak in the neighboring Uganda prompted the South Sudan minister of Health, Higher Education with other technocrats who are experts in health sector to brief the cabinet of the need to step-up scrutiny at entry points.

Addressing journalists after the cabinet meeting Friday, the Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro said they have recognized the importance of controlling the virus at borders and thus approved lumps of money for response preparedness and surveillance.

“We consider the presentation and recognize the importance of controlling the Ebola at the entry points that are close to Uganda, close to Democratic Republic of Congo or DRC,” Lomuro said on Friday.

“We have approved half a million dollars about SSP 330,000,000 million for emergency control of Ebola disease,” he continued.

Minister Lomuro said the Minister of Finance; Dier Tong Ngor has immediately expressed readiness to settle the payment when the paper work is presented to him.

“So, you can see that the Council of Ministries took the issue of public health very seriously,” he stressed.

He further said the cabinet had asked the Ministry of Health whether they have equipment, facility and expertise to test and be able to control the disease, in which the respond came affirmative.

 “We were told that the ministry is in that position – it’s capable as the experts seem to know the entry points,” he affirmed.

On Tuesday, the national ministry of health and the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the activation of the Ebola management systems.

The activation was led by the Director for Preventive Health Services Incident Manager at the Emergency Operational Centre, Dr John Rumunu.

The Undersecretary at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Victoria Anib, stated that the state structures like technical working groups, surveillance and rapid response teams would be activated as well.

Dr. Anib urged the citizens to be alert, especially at the borders, to watch out and report any suspected cases of Ebola virus symptoms.

The WHO Representative in South Sudan, Fabian Ndenzako, said the activation of the alert system means that all the pillars of response will be working and all the teams that are involved will make sure that they can prepare and also respond.

“We don’t have a case in South Sudan, but given the proximity, we have to prepare,” this is not the first time we are activating an incident management system for Ebola.”

The Sudan Ebola virus has previously caused seven outbreaks: four in Uganda and three in Sudan.

Uganda last reported a Sudan Ebola virus outbreak in 2012. The country was hit by an outbreak of the Zaire Ebola virus in 2019.

The virus was brought in from the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo, where a large epidemic was raging in the north-eastern region.

The DRC, which borders Uganda to the west, is currently fighting an Ebola virus disease outbreak, which was previously classified as a hemorrhagic fever.

Ebola is a fatal disease that affects humans and other primates. It has six different species, three of which have previously caused large outbreaks (Bundibugyo, Sudan, and Zaire).

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