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US insists on funding Ebola through agencies despite health ministry outcry

Ambassador Natalie E. Brown. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The United States Ambassador to Uganda Natalie E. Brown, has defended their decision to provide funding directly to other donors and agencies involved in activities to curtail the further spread of the Ebola virus other than the government.

Natalie says the US has extended 22.3 million US Dollars, which is nearly 83 billion Shillings to Uganda since the outbreak of the viral hemorrhagic fever was declared on September 20, 2022. Of this, 5.5 million US Dollars has been allocated to Baylor Uganda, to fund contact tracing, alert management, and training laboratory staff on infection prevention and control.

Another 3.8 million US Dollars has been allocated to the Infectious Disease Institute, to offer emergency medical services and support dignified burials, whereas 6.4 million US Dollars has been offered to UN agencies such as the World Health Organization and UNICEF, for coordination, waste management, supporting survivors, and community engagement among others.

Addressing journalists on Wednesday, Ambassador Natalie Brown said they had already released six million US Dollars to the Ministry of Health and dispatched the bulk of the money through other entities due to the concern that most of the money released to the government ends on unrelated projects.

While this is being done, Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng has cried out that her team needs to be allocated money directly in order to implement control activities in time. In her statement to parliament on Wednesday, the minister said since the beginning of the outbreak, no funding has been provided to support the response of the ministry despite a clear response plan, which is affecting the speed of the response.

“Partners usually inquire about government input before they declare their resources. We are seeing partners declaring resources mobilized on social media, which resources we do not have information abou,t” Aceng’s statement reads in part, saying that they need 76 billion Shillings.

Natalie said considering how expensive the response is, the government needs to allocate money to the ministry as combating the epidemic requires collective effort.

By Wednesday, Ministry of Health figures indicated that 131 people had been confirmed Ebola positive and three new cases of death were recorded, bringing the total number of deaths to 46.  Also, 2,183 contacts of cases were listed for follow-up.



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