By Spy Uganda
As Uganda struggles to control the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, Health Ministry officials said on Friday that the cases are gradually stabilizing. This comes after media reports that some leaked documents show the disease could claim 500 lives by April next year. The country has recorded 137 Ebola cases and 54 deaths since the outbreak began in September.
Ugandan Health Ministry officials have gone on the defense in the face of reports that the deadly Ebola Sudan virus disease is spiraling out of control.
Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, Uganda’s health minister, told reporters on Friday that the country’s cases are gradually stabilizing, as shown by trends in the last week.
Reports this week alleged that leaked donor documents said the ministry had projected 250 deaths by the end of this year and 500 Ebola deaths by April next year.
The government has placed the two districts most affected by the Ebola outbreak — Kasanda and Mubende — under quarantine for another 21 days, although Mubende is not reporting new cases. The government also is ordering an early closure of primary schools countrywide.
“We have never done any modeling for this Ebola outbreak. Not Ministry of Health, not the scientific advisory committee, not the National Planning Authority. So that modeling was done by them., said Aceng, referring to the newspaper. “In addition, the two districts of Mubende and Kasanda are under quarantine. It does not mean that we are 100 percent sure that no case will pop up anywhere.”
During the press conference, WHO Country Representative Yonas Tegen described the projected Ebola death case numbers as”dramatic.”
Tegen said in the last week there have been five confirmed cases and a sharp decrease in the last three weeks. Tegen said he was surprised to see some wrong details claimed to have been taken from the WHO.
“That’s not telling us a doomsday scenario. Even in normal cases,” said Tegen. “For example, WHO puts the viral hemorrhagic kits in various places. We keep supplies enough to manage 300, 400, 500 patients. Does that mean that the disease is there? No, it is getting prepared. I would assure you that also WHO didn’t do modeling. I was surprised to see a graph; our graphs are not done like that.”
Local reports also indicate there is a conflict brewing between the minister and donors over how funds to fight Ebola are being managed.
At a press conference last week, U.S. Ambassador Natali Brown said since the outbreak was declared in Uganda on September 20, the United States had channeled more than $22.3 million through implementing partners to support the government of Uganda-led Ebola response with $6 million available to the Health Ministry. She was quick to urge the proper use of the funds.