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Health Ministry to reopen Ebola screening centres in Buliisa

FILE PHOTO: Ebola screening

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Health is set to resume Ebola screening activities in Buliisa district. The screening had been halted since October last year, when more than 100 health workers deployed to manage the centres abandoned the duty stations.

At the time of the move, the health workers who include members of Village Health teams-VHTs and Health workers attached to various health facilities in the district were reportedly demanding more than 12 million Shillings in allowances.

Bullisa district had established eight Ebola screening centres including Wanseko, Walukuba, Kabolwa, Bugoigo, Butiaba and Somsion among others to avert a possible spread of Ebola from the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC where more than 2,000 people succumbed to the epidemic that broke out in August 2018.

The outbreak devastated areas in South Kivu, North Kivu, and Ituri provinces, which are close to Buliisa district in Western Uganda. With the frequent cross-border movements for personal reasons and trade, government set up a number of screening centers specifically for people crossing from DR Congo.

Currently no health officer is screening those crossing into the country at the designated Wanseko entry point in Buliisa district despite the huge influx of DRC nationals to the district using the Wanseko-Panyimur ferry that plies the route twice a day.

The Albert Nile ferry plies the 12-nautical-mile route from Panyimur in Pakwach Ddistrict to Wanseko in Buliisa district. The ferry is also the major link for regional towns like Hoima, Kigorobya, Masindi, Biiso, Buliisa and Wanseko in Bunyoro in the Albertine, and Panyimur, Dei, Pakwach, Nebbi, Paidha and Arua in West Nile.

Users of the ferry also come from far flung places in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

Buliisa district health officer Dr Nelson Naisye told Uganda Radio Network that after engaging the health ministry, it was resolved that funds be allocated to the district to clear the arrears and summon teams to resume normal screening exercises.

Naisye challenges the health workers to resume work next week now that money has been availed to clear their outstanding arrears.

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