Surveillance enhanced to curb Ebola spread

A treatment unit where confirmed and suspected cases of Ebola are treated at Bwera hospital, Kasese District, in western Uganda. [AP]

The Government has intensified surveillance along the porous Kenya-Uganda border to eliminate risks of spread of Ebola.

Measures, including training of some 310 health workers and engagement of another 400 community health volunteers, have been taken to enhance sensitisation initiatives and management of the deadly viral infection.

Trans Nzoia County Executive Committee (CEC) member for health, Clare Wamalwa, disclosed that seven isolation sites had been established in the county and a 24-hour surveillance team deployed at the Suam border region.

Speaking during a health stakeholders’ meeting at a local hotel yesterday, the executive said a response team had been formed to strengthen campaigns against the deadly disease.

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Three isolation centres have so far been set up in Endebess, near the Kenya-Uganda border, two in Kwanza and same number at Kitale County Referral Hospital.

Mrs Wamalwa said the national and county governments teamed up to enhance surveillance in the area that has high risk of the disease due to its porous borders.

The CEC said the anti-Ebola campaigns had been properly facilitated with medical gear and equipment procured for use.

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"Apart from procuring the necessary medical gear, we have involved a multi-sectoral approach to sensitise the residents on the dangers of Ebola," she said.

Due to high movements of people between Kenya and Uganda, she said, screening at Suam border had been stepped up. She said the business community had also been engaged in the sensitisation programme.

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The county's Director of Health prevention and promotion Gilbert Suwon said unauthorised "panya routes" along the border had been sealed off with foot bridges destroyed.

On June 11, the Ugandan Ministry of Health confirmed a case of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the country's Kasese District.

The patient was a five-year-old child from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who travelled with his family from Mabalako Health Zone after attending a funeral on June 1, of a person who died of Ebola.

On June 10, the child and the family entered the country through Bwera border post and sought medical care at Kagando hospital, where health workers identified Ebola as a possible cause of the child's illness.

Two other suspected cases of a 50-year-old female (grandmother of the first case) and three-year-old male (younger brother of the first case) were also admitted to hospital with symptoms of the deadly Ebola on June 12.

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