By Spy Uganda
Kampala: The European Union (EU) has donated UGX 756 million in emergency funding to Uganda to help in the fight against the Ebola outbreak in the country which has so far escalated to six districts.
According to EU, the funding is part of an urgent request by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies.
”As the Ugandan authorities have identified over 40 cases of Ebola Virus Disease in the past weeks, the EU has mobilised an initial Shs756 million in emergency funding to support the Uganda Red Cross,” EU said in a statement.
The Uganda Red Cross society noted that they have a target of 2.7 million people in Uganda’s Mubende district, where the outbreak was first confirmed, and another five at-risk districts.
They focus on coordination, surveillance with contact tracing, risk communication, community engagement, and safe and dignified burials.
Commenting on the funding, EU commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič said they remain in contact with the Uganda authorities, the World Health Organisation and partners in the country amidst the disease outbreak.
“We have re-inforced our team on the ground with the short-term deployment of a health expert. We will explore all available options for providing additional support during this difficult time,” Janez said.
The funding comes at a time when Uganda is battling the disease that has so far claimed ten lives (cumulative deaths) in the current Ebola outbreak.
According to the Ministry of Health, Uganda currently has 43 confirmed cases of Ebola and 10 deaths including four health workers since the outbreak was declared on 20 September 2022.
Ebola causes an acute, serious illness which is often fatal if untreated. It spreads between humans by direct contact with contaminated bodily fluids.
Uganda Red Cross’ communications director, Irene Nakasiita, points out that the Ebola outbreak came straight after the COVID-19 pandemic, among other disasters, stretching the organisation’s resources.
‘‘Looking at the demands and the expectations from the community, it’s really higher than our capacities can accommodate at the moment. While we look at securing our own health through giving ourselves more PPE and so other safety measures, we equally have to support the communities and they are looking to us for an option,’’ she said.
The organisation is at the forefront of evacuating suspected patients from communities and providing what it terms ‘dignified burials’.
‘’Until Uganda is declared Ebola-free, we may not promise that this will end during this period or December or January or May or March, but we just have to keep resource mobilizing so that we are able to bridge the gaps, but the biggest gaps are at community levels,’’ she added.