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Uganda seeks MoU with Congo to formalize collaborations in Ebola response

FILE PHOTO: Ebola screening at border points

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | There are a number of collaboration issues that need to be ironed out by governments of Uganda and the neighboring DR Congo regarding the involvement of both countries in responding to the outbreak of the Ebola hemorrhagic fever that has been active for more than a year.

This has been revealed by Dr. Allan Muruta, the Ebola incident commander in the Ministry of Health who said Uganda has sought a Memorandum of Understanding with the neighbors so that both countries can know what responsibilities they have in the response.

In an interview with the Uganda Radio Network on Wednesday, Dr. Allan Muruta who is also the Commissioner Public Health Emergencies said the proposal for an MoU was made way back in December but the political changes in DR Congo failed them from concluding the negotiations since the Health Minister they were dealing with was also changed.

At the recent cross border meeting held in Kampala, Uganda officials complained that while efforts are being made for every Congolese coming into the country to be screened at the border points, nothing is happening at the side of DR Congo something they said is undoing their efforts.

Since Ebola broke out in Congo, more than 2000 people have died and has been declared a public health emergency of international concern. Some four cases have spilled to Uganda but the situation was quickly managed before more people could be infected.

When the last case happened, because of a stock out of vaccines in the country, they got some 300 doses of vaccines from Congo and have continuously shared information about what’s happening especially at the border points.  Apart from that, Ugandan health workers have also been taken to Congo to help in the response.

Now, Muruta says such interventions and information sharing should be sealed with an MOU with clear guidelines on how interventions should be effected and what responsibilities each country should have in the response.

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