Wednesday February 13 2013

US offers Shs26b to fight Ebola, Marburg

By Al-Mahdi Ssenkabirwa

The outbreak of epidemics like Ebola and Marburg fever will soon be reduced if the United States Agency for International Development -funded project becomes a success.

The $10m (about Shs26b) project dubbed Emerging Pandemic Threat Programme aims at equipping doctors and veterinarians to strengthen their coordination in carrying out joint research and and treatment of zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic diseases are those which can be passed on from animals to humans.

Dr Samuel Majalija, an officer at One Health Central and Eastern Africa, a network of 14 public health and veterinary higher education institutions that are located in Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, DRC and Rwanda said research had shown that 70 per cent of human diseases come from animals.

“This approach we are employing recognises that human health, animal health, and ecosystem health are inextricably linked, and that collaboration across the sectors is needed to achieve more rapid, and effective responses,” he said.

He was speaking at a training workshop of doctors and veterinarians in Kampala yesterday. The participants were drawn from 20 districts which are more prone to zoonotic diseases. “More training workshops will be conducted at regional and district levels,” Dr Majalija, a lecturer of microbiology and molecular epidemiology at Makerere University, said.