Opposition offers alternative measures to fight Ebola

Left to right: MPs Betty Naluyima (Wakiso Woman), Timothy Batuwa (Jinja West), and Joyce Bagala (Mityana Woman) address journalists at Parliament on November 1, 2022. PHOTO/DAVID LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is mainly transmitted through fluids, including blood, saliva, faeces, vomit, urine, and sweat of an infected person. 
  • The Ministry of Health advised those discharged to abstain from sex for at least a year.

PARLIAMENT. Opposition lawmakers have offered alternative measures aimed at mitigating the Ebola disease in the country.
Speaking at a press conference at Parliament yesterday, a section of legislators led by Mr Timothy Lusala Batuwa, the Shadow Health Minister (Jinja West), said the government’s focus on patients was not effectively addressing the health crisis.

“Where we differ from the government intervention [is that] they are employing systems and processes that mitigate or prevent Ebola based on a patient. For us [Opposition], we are looking at fluids,” Mr Batuwa said.
“We have been quiet as the Opposition and gave the government time to employ all interventions within their reach and we had confidence that they would do a very good job.” 
“However, the cases started rising and it was at this point that we had to tell them to let us handle it at the level of fluids. In Covid-19, we were using facemasks but here, the game changer is gloves,” he added.

Mr Batuwa also raised concerns about whether it was appropriate to discharge men who have recovered.
“Ebola is also a disease that is reported to exist in human sperm and can remain there from six months to one year. If these people are still sexually active, are you seeing their fluids still spreading Ebola for another six months to one year? How is the government going to tackle that?” he wondered.
Ms Christine Kaaya Nakimwero,  the Shadow Minister for Water and Environment (Kiboga Woman), said condom use was another preventive measure  to fight Ebola among those who are sexually active.

The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is mainly transmitted through fluids, including blood, saliva, faeces, vomit, urine, and sweat of an infected person. 
Recent medical reports have also highlighted that the virus can remain in semen for months even after a man has recovered.
The signs and symptoms of Ebola include sudden onset of fever, headache, muscle pain, intense body weakness, bleeding from body openings, sore throat as well as vomiting, and bloody diarrhoea or urine.

The Ministry of Health advised those discharged to abstain from sex for at least a year. 
The Opposition MPs also called for revisiting the lockdown directive in Mubende and Kassanda districts.
“What is it about lockdown? Is it about protecting people or imprisoning people because the circumstances under which people normally undergo [in lockdown] are worse than imprisonment? One becomes destitute, hungry, depressed, and desperate,” Mr Batuwa said. He said the measure would not stop people from interacting or caring for patients.
Other measures
Mr TimothyBatuwa proposed that the government should profile patients to find out how  the disease is spreading, what are the most vulnerable age groups and carry out sensitisation. He also said the government can also consider boda bodas riders to liaise with ambulances to figure out how to work more effectively in transporting patients. Ms Joyce Bagala, the Shadow Minister for Information (Mityana Woman), cautioned grieving families against exhuming bodies for funeral rites.

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