Uganda is free of Marburg
Posted Friday, January 4 2013 at 02:00
Health ministry declares country free of the haemorrhagic fever after the 42-day post-surveillance period.
The Ministry of Health yesterday declared Uganda free of Marburg, two months after the disease broke out in Kabale District.
At least 15 people died in the epidemic.
The declaration follows the full observation of 42 days of post-outbreak surveillance as recommended by the World Health Organisation.
The haemorrhagic fever was confirmed in Kabale on October 19, 2012 before spreading to Mbarara, Ibanda, and Fort Portal.
The ministry says the last patient admitted to the Marburg Virus Isolation Centre at Rushoroza Health Centre III in Kabale was discharged on November 15.
There have not been any new cases or suspected cases of the virus reported in the area.
However, the ministry has asked the public to remain vigilant and report any suspected strange illness or death to the nearest health facility.
Separate fund needed
Speaking in Kabale District, Health Minister Christine Ondoa asked the government to create a separate fund to handle such emergencies and disease outbreaks that continue to affect the health budget.
“The plans are already on paper but the funding has remained a big challenge. Negotiations are still going on with the Finance ministry and I hope it will be passed because of the urgent need,” she said.
Dr Ondoa also advised health workers to take precautions while handling and treating patients, especially those suffering from highly infectious haemorrhagic fevers.
A representative from the WHO, Dr Rapheal Ndyamuba, said a standby team of experts should be in place to handle outbreaks.
Meanwhile, the ministry has set January 16 as the date to declare Luweero District Ebola-free.
Ebola, a highly haemorrhagic fever in the same family with Marburg, broke out in the district shortly after the country had been declared free of the disease. It killed seven people.