Panic as Ebola team buries 3 family members in Kassanda

A section of the newly commissioned 39-bed Ebola treatment unit at the Works department in Mubende Municipality. PHOTO/DAN WANDERA

What you need to know:

  • The victims bring the total number of deaths in one village to seven.
  • The bodies belong to one family that allegedly exhumed the remains of their relative who had earlier succumbed to Ebola

Panic gripped residents of Kitongo Village in Kalwana Sub-county, Kassanda, as the district taskforce delivered the remains of four people that succumbed to the Ebola Virus Disease for burial.
Three of the bodies belong to one family that allegedly exhumed the remains of their relative who had earlier succumbed to Ebola. 
Mr Muzaffalu Ssenyonjo, the village chairperson, said seven people have now died of the disease in the area.
“We are worried that several of our people that are now in the hospital may not survive the Ebola disease,” Mr Ssenyonjo told Daily Monitor yesterday. 
He, however, couldn’t confirm the alleged exhumation of the Ebola body two weeks ago.

“The district Ebola taskforce notified us about the death of the three people from the family of one of the families [names withheld]…. The residents already dug the three graves. The burial teams will deliver and bury the remains at the family burial site at Kitongo village,” Mr Ssenyonjo said.
The fourth victim that succumbed to Ebola was also from Kitongo.
Mr Ssenyonjo said the deceased allegedly contracted the disease from a private clinic at Gwaniro Village in Kikandwa Parish where he had been admitted.
“The clinic that was recently closed by the Ebola taskforce in Kassanda District had connections and reportedly received patients from a sister clinic in Madudu Village in Mubende District that was also closed by the Ebola taskforce in Mubende,” he said.

Daily Monitor couldn’t independently verify the report linking the closed two clinics to the infection of the forth resident who succumbed to Ebola.
But the Kassanda Ebola taskforce team in their report presented to the Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, and the visiting Unicef team on November 1 indicated that the surge in the EVD cases was linked to the exhumation of the remains of the Ebola victims by alleged family members for unknown reasons.
Mr Geoffrey Bwire, the district Ebola incident commander, said the taskforce investigation points to incidents where the burial teams safely conduct the burial of the victims but a section of the family members exhume the bodies in the night to perform rituals.

“We have about 50 percent of the confirmed Ebola cases that are now linked to the body that was exhumed at Kitongo Village. The burial team had safely buried the victim but we got the unfortunate report about the exhumation,” he told the Minister of Health and the visiting Unicef team on Tuesday.
Ms Phoebe Namulindwa, the Kassanda Ebola taskforce chairperson, said the cumulative confirmed Ebola cases in the district was 44 by November 2 while the cumulative Ebola deaths stood at 15.  She said the number of admissions from Kassanda that are at Mubende Ebola treatment unit  are 45.

Ebola infections in Kassanda
By October 14, Kassanda had registered three confirmed cases that were contacts from Mubende and only six contacts. But statistics from the district Ebola taskforce reveal an upsurge in cases of suspects, confirmed and deaths through the 21-day lockdown that is blamed on the poor and careless lifestyle of residents.By November 1, Kassanda had registered 42 cumulative confirmed cases and 12 deaths while the number on admission was 40.The district has 15 sub-counties but 80 percent of the confirmed Ebola cases are from Kalwana while 10 percent are from Kiganda. The other 10 percent of the confirmed cases are shared by the other 13 sub-counties.