US lauds Uganda on Ebola preparedness

Tuesday September 17 2019

Meeting. Left to right: United States

Meeting. Left to right: United States Ambassador Deborah Malac, Health minister Ruth Aceng and United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex M. Azar address a press conference at the Ministry of Health offices in Kampala, yesterday. PHOTO BY DAVID LUBOWA 

By FRANKLIN DRAKU

The US government has lauded Uganda’s effort in containing Ebola outbreak that is currently ravaging the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The disease has killed more than 2,000 people and more than 3,000 are infected.
Mr Alex Azar, the US secretary for health and human services, during a joint press briefing with the Minister for Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, at the ministry’s headquarters in Kampala said Uganda has made a remarkable feat in containing the threat of Ebola across borders.

“I am here to recognise the incredible hard work the Ugandan government and its Health ministry have done to prevent the spread of Ebola outbreak from the eastern DR Congo. Uganda has a large and highly active border with a country that is now facing the most complex Ebola outbreak we have ever seen,” Mr Azar said.

Efforts
He said there is much work that has been done both in terms of preparedness and response capacities, screening those crossing the border and managing those that have been discovered.
“Uganda, particularly Ministry of Health and minister Aceng have risen to the occasion, providing a model for the region and any other country that is seeking to develop its capabilities to respond to infectious disease to prevent and respond. I would like to give a huge credit to minister Aceng, I would say the minister is a terrific manager of a formidable team.”

Mr Azar also singled out Uganda’s success in organising the Martyrs Day celebration at the height of the Ebola outbreak, saying this showed that Uganda has managed to pull up its level of preparedness.
Mr Azar said the US will continue to support the efforts towards the fight against Ebola and other infectious diseases on the African continent.

Urges Tanzanian government to open up
Mr Azar also urged Tanzania to open up about the suspected cases of Ebola outbreak in the country. One woman died in Tanzania and the government came out to deny the claims that she had succumbed to suspected Ebola.

“Tanzania needs to be more transparent on these deaths. We have heard about the reports but we need to act fast to get to the fact. The facts cannot be got when government keeps quiet so they need to be more transparent on this,’ he said.
Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, the World Health Organisation country representative to Uganda said WHO is investigating the cases in Tanzania.

Dr Aceng thanked the US government for helping Uganda to achieve better health service delivery to its people.
She said a number of interventions by the US government has helped to reduce HIV infections, reduction in malaria prevalence, among others.
Ms Deborah Malac, the US ambassador to Uganda, said while US has continued to provide funding, particularly to the health sector, Uganda must do more to sustain the funded programmes.

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fdraku@ug.nationmedia.com

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