Statement to Parliament on panic occasioned by reports of alleged Ebola victims in Koboko District
Following the concern raised by Hon. Bada Diri Margaret, (MP, Koboko) on Tuesday 9th July of 2019 over panic occasioned by reports of Ebola victims within a few kilometres of the North-western border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Dr. Joyce Moriku Kaducu the Minister of State for Health, Primary Health Care presented a statement on the issue before the August House.
The Minister assured the country that there was no confirmed case of Ebola Virus Disease in Koboko District or any other part of the country. The panic in Hon.Baba Diri’s district was due to speculation that had been created by the information in the neighbouring districts.
She said that the Ministry of Health had the capacity to respond to all outbreak alerts and provide information to the public accordingly; and noted that the reports of Ebola victims ought to always be confirmed with the Ministry of Health that has the machinery to analyze and report with evidence. She further advised that the rumours coming from the community should always be provided to the Ministry of Health for verification to avoid panic.
She informed the house that only one death of a confirmed Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) case was recorded in Ariwala town in DRC which is close to West Nile region, 8 km from the border with Arua District. She admitted that due to the proximity of these towns, there was a high risk of importing the virus in the region since communities from the affected areas share many social services, which includes markets, churches, schools, transportation facilities and the use of health facilities on the Ugandan side by Congolese.
The minister emphasized that to date, only 2 alerts had been investigated in that region and both had tested negative. The Ministry of Health and World Health Organization (WHO) had provided a travel advisory that had informed the population about the risks in the country and what needs to be done
The minister confirmed to the country that the Ministry of Health and its partners had contained the spread of the Ebola outbreak and there was no cause for alarm or fear but she advised all Ugandans to remain vigilant and alert. She called upon Ugandans to avoid handshaking, hugging, mass gatherings and to observe infection, prevention and control practices such as washing hands with soap and clean water at all times both at health facilities and communities.