Tanzanian doctor becomes second health worker to die of Ebola in Uganda

This photo tweeted by Association of Surgeons of Uganda on October 1, 2022 shows Dr Mohammed Ali, a 37-year-old Tanzania national who has been pursuing a Master of Medicine in Surgery at Kampala International University who succumbed to Ebola. PHOTO/ COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • Since the initial Ebola outbreak was discovered in Mubende, infections have been found in three other districts -- Kassanda, Kyegegwa and Kagadi -- but Museveni vowed not to cordon off the affected regions.

A 37-year-old Tanzanian doctor who has been pursuing a Master of Medicine in Surgery course at Kampala International University has succumbed to Ebola, Association of Surgeons of Uganda has announced. 
It’s not clear how Dr Mohammed Ali got infected but his death comes hours after the Ministry of Health on Friday announced that the death toll from the Ebola outbreak in the country had risen to seven.

 “It is with great sorrow that we have received the news of the passing of Dr Mohammed Ali, a 37-year-old Tanzania national who has been pursuing a Master of Medicine in Surgery at Kampala International University. Dr. Ali lost the battle to the Ebola Virus Disease,” Association of Surgeons of Uganda tweeted on Saturday.

The Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said Dr Ali tested positive of Ebola on September 26, 2022 and died while receiving treatment at Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital isolation facility. He died at 3am on Saturday.
Dr. Ali is the first Doctor, and second health worker to have succumbed to Ebola. “The first was a midwife from St Florence Clinic, a probable case, because she died before testing,” Dr Aceng tweeted on Saturday. 

So far, at least eight health workers have tested positive for EHVF, including intern doctors and senior house officer- (all trainees) who were stationed at the center of the outbreak at Mubende Regional Referral Hospital and other health workers, according to Uganda Medical Association (UMA). 
In a September 29 letter to Ms Diana Atwine, the Ministry of Health Permanent, the association’s president Dr Samuel Oledo and secretary general Dr Herbert Luswata said there’s great need in the management of the epidemic and in the care of doctors and nurses and other health workers that are undergoing care at various facilities managed by the Ministry of Health. 

“UMA has been in contact with members of the Association who are serving at the frontline and would like to bring to your attention the following urgent concerns especially regarding the safety and medical care of medical workers serving in ETUs in the current epidemic as well as those who have been infected and hospitalized to date. The UMA NEC held a meeting on September 28, 2022 and resolved to request the Ministry of Health that the infected and hospitalized doctors and health workers at Mubende and other facilities be provided medically appropriate feeding and supportive care at all times. The government and Ministry of Health need to provide; the appropriate medical care, nursing care, nutritious foods, and other fluids that are appropriate in the management of the Ebola infected patients in care, according to the stage of illness and need. Persons who are experiencing emesis and diarrhea cannot feed on solids and are sometimes even too weak to do so and need to be supported. Health workers working in the Ebola treamtne Units (ETU) should sign for and receive the risk allowances,” reads part of the letter.
This follows information that one of the six health workers, who were on Wednesday evacuated from Mubende hospital to Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital stricken with Ebola, is still fighting for their life on oxygen.

Ms Sharon Atukunda, a health worker at the facility who is attending to the victims, said they are currently “managing … symptoms like headache, cough and fever, among others.”
The hospital director, Dr Alex Adaku, confirmed that five of the health workers “are much more stable … while another is still on oxygen.” He hastened to add that they “have also noticed some improvement.”

Since the initial Ebola outbreak was discovered in Mubende, infections have been found in three other districts -- Kassanda, Kyegegwa and Kagadi -- but Museveni vowed not to cordon off the affected regions.
Ebola is an often-fatal viral haemorrhagic fever named after a river in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where it was discovered in 1976.
Human transmission is through body fluids, with the main symptoms being fever, vomiting, bleeding and diarrhoea.
Outbreaks are difficult to contain, especially in urban environments.

People who are infected do not become contagious until symptoms appear, which is after an incubation period of between two and 21 days.
At present there is no licensed medication to prevent or treat Ebola, although a range of experimental drugs are in development. 
Uganda, which shares a porous border with the DRC, has experienced several Ebola outbreaks, most recently in 2019 when at least five people died.

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