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Ugandan health workers fatigued-Ebola simulation report

FILE PHOTO: Ugandan teams being vaccinated recently. PHOTO UN

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Health workers on Ugandan borders are tired of the endless state of Ebola preparedness, an Ebola Simulation exercise carried out early this month has revealed.

The results were disseminated during an international Ebola Virus Disease meeting that begun in Kampala on Monday. The Simulation exercise was carried out in Wakiso and Kasese, which are part of the 22 high Ebola risk districts.

The exercise showed that health workers at different border posts are tired of being on standby. Uganda has been in a state of Ebola preparedness since August 2018 when the disease broke out in North Kivu in DRC.

Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldermariam, the Country Representative World Health Organisation, says the exercise was an eye opener because it revealed gaps that need to be filled.

Health Minister, Dr. Ruth Aceng attributed the reports of fatigue on the part of health workers to the unfamiliar working environment.

She said there is for financial assistance to make sure that the country bridges the existing gaps. “There’s a need for financial help as the numbers of people suffering of Ebola in DRC increases,” he said.

Uganda’s first Ebola preparedness budget totaled up to Shillings 4 trillion while the next stood at Shillings 3 trillion, according to the health ministry.

The simulation exercise also showed that Uganda needs to re-enforce its border health teams. Aceng says they are planning on hiring more health workers to feel the gaps.

The Health Ministry is set to hire an additional 500 health workers in the 2019/2020 financial year.  Similar simulation exercises were also carried out in Tanzania, Sudan, Central Africa Republic, Rwanda, Zambia, South Sudan, Angola and Burundi.

According to WHO, Uganda was not the only country that still falls short in some areas of Ebola preparedness.

Dr. Zabulon York, the WHO Technical Coordinator of Health Emergencies programme who represented the WHO Director General, said results from other countries where the simulation exercise was carried out revealed existing gaps.

He revealed that the countries were rated according to the level of community engagement, infection prevention and control, state of isolation facilities, capacity building and emergency response.

Data from WHO shows that over 1300 people have been infected with Ebola in DRC. More than 400 recovered after receiving treatment

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