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.
In South Sudan the prolonged civil war is continuing and with the fresh dialogue between the parties didn’t help. Some had hope that the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – In Government (SPLM-IG) or the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) under the leadership of President Salva Kiir Mayardit. He has been ruling and with an iron fist. While the main opposition leader and rebel Dr. Riek Machar are running the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army – In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO). There is also a coalition of other rebels and opposition, who is the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) of 8 political parties/militias, some of them are run by big men like Dr. Lam Akol (National Democratic Movement – NDM) and Gen. Thomas C. Swaka (National Salvation Front – NAS).
Therefore, the knowledge of delegations from SSOA, TGoNU and SPLM/A-IO in the IGAD High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) that has failed as even the house-arrested Machar couldn’t mend the fences or the idea of peaceful progress. That means the army and militias will continue to fight until they got supremacy.
Some people had hope as Ethiopian Government hosted this 32nd Extra-Ordinary Session in Addis Ababa and the shared arrangement to work on the “Revised Bridging Proposal” for all the stakeholders in the conflict as IGAD prepared for the dialogue this week. Still, that did not make it easier. They have the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) &Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM). All of these are interfering and monitoring the Republic. This combined with all the NGOs and Bilateral Organizations who support as well. Therefore, the international community is involved in the process. They are bookkeeping and securing needed services in the midst of the civil war, even footing the bills for it all. So the TGoNU can continue their fighting against their opposition.
This combined with various agreements that has not been kept, cease fire violations and such. These War-Lords really has no plan of quitting. They are preoccupied with the continued conflict and the looting of the Republic. There major resources being squandered away, not only seen by the Sentry in their reports, but the Kenyan bloggers are looking into the money laundering and estates owned by the War-Lords from South Sudan. Clearly, they are preoccupied with earning money on the toils and tears created by the conflict. That is why they are afraid of their future if the conflict ends. The guns are speaking their language. Even as the people are still lingering in refugee camps abroad and the Republic has no solution. The leadership isn’t hungry for peace, it is hungry to overcome its advisory.
At this point as the years lingers and the leaders continue to eat of the poverty, the famine and civil-wars, even as the state is bankrupt, creating higher bank-notes and the international community is footing the bills for development and needed supplies in refugee camps. This is clearly not the intention. But that is the sad reality as the innocent are dying and is afraid. The own leadership are holding this on. They are violating agreements or stifling it. If they are not getting their way, they are picking up guns or sending tanks to their yards. That is what happen in 2016, when the 2015 Agreement was starting to be established. However, that only lasted months before the new fresh conflict we are seeing today. Since then, there has been more deflections and more creations of new outfits who wants both Machar and Kiir to step down. However, none of them seems to fit the bill.
The state of affairs is sad. The people deserve peace, but War-Lords are busy finding ways to outsmart the enemies. Instead of dialogue and building real bridges, they are instead blowing them up hoping no-one finds out.
The people of South Sudan deserves better, but the leadership is busy killing each other and trying only to use ammunition to do so. They are not interested in talking. They know the trigger and is ready to aim. Peace.