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WHO Director-General applauds Uganda’s Ebola preparedness response (03.01.2019)

Kampala 3 January 2019:- The Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO DG), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has lauded Uganda for the Ebola preparedness response mounted, so far, in the high-risk districts of the country.

Dr Tedros said that Uganda’s disease outbreak response system is recognized globally for its effectiveness. He commended the government for the support rendered during the ongoing vaccination exercising, saying, “The vaccination exercise will go a long way in saving the lives of frontline health workers and health care workers and we are really grateful for the government’s commitment and support.”

He made these remarks at a meeting held at the Office of the Prime Minister where he met key government dignitaries including; the Prime Minister- Right Honourable Dr Ruhakana Rugunda; Minister of Foreign Affairs- Hon Sam Kuteesa; Minister of State for Defence and Veteran Affairs- Hon Bright Rwamirama; Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary-Dr Diana Atwiine and other government officials.

He highlighted the appreciation by Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) of Uganda for the support in the ongoing outbreak response especially regarding capacity building in Infection Prevention and Control and cross-border screening and surveillance.

Dr Tedros emphasized the need to amplify Primary Health Care (PHC) in Uganda in order to prevent diseases among the population. He added that health promotion and prevention of communicable and Non-communicable disease are key to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

The Prime Minister of Uganda, Right Honorable Dr Ruhakana Rugunda appreciated WHO’s endless support to Uganda, saying, “Whatever Uganda has managed to achieve in public health is because of the general leadership of WHO.”

He noted, with concern, the ongoing Ebola outbreak in DRC, and commended WHO and partners in the response for braving the harsh conditions to save lives. “Your hard work and sacrifice do not go unnoticed”, he said.

Dr Ruhakana also highlighted the importance of PHC to Uganda. “We have no choice but to support PHC. It is the key to tackling many of the afflictions we are getting”, he said. He committed the government to achieve UHC in Uganda.

In the wake of the Ebola outbreak that is affecting the Eastern part of DRC close to the Uganda-DRC border, Uganda is implementing a series of activities to ensure that the country is protected from the Ebola outbreak or able to control the outbreak in case of a confirmed case in Uganda. These include vaccination of frontline health workers, screening of travellers at the points of entry, risk communication and community engagement, enhanced surveillance including community-based disease surveillance and cross-border surveillance. Other activities include the collection and testing of blood samples from alert cases, capacity building for case management, psycho-social care and capacity building for safe and dignified burials.

The meeting was attended by government officials, the media and officials from WHO headquarters and WHO Uganda country office.

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