MOBILIZING KAMPALA CAPITAL CITY AGAINST EBOLA-SUDAN STRAIN
By Goodluck Musinguzi
The Ebola virus response in Kampala Capital City has been robust following the Ministry of Health’s declaration of an outbreak of Ebola. The Kampala Capital City Authority -KCCA and Ministry of Health –MOH launched the Ebola sensitization campaign in markets, taxi parks, bus parks and Bodaboda stages ahead of Christmas festivities. These places attract a huge number of people moving from one place to another.
Dorothy Kisaka, Executive Director of Kampala Capital City Authority, Dorothy Kisaka has asked boda boda cyclists fraternity in Kampala to collaborate with the authority in the fight against Ebola. She made the remarks at the launch of the Ebola public health awareness campaign in the five city divisions.
The campaign which is sponsored by development partners targets different business sectors in Kampala, including markets, the taxi industry, city malls, and arcades among others.
Kampala Capital City Authority has undertaken the following actions including orienting and activation of surveillance and response teams in all divisions. Information and educational materials have been distributed to the divisions and health facilities.
2 ambulances have been designated for the evacuation of suspects and confirmed cases. Emergency Operations Center in public health was activated, and Media space was booked on stations to sensitize the public.
And Infection prevention control interventions enhanced in all KCCA-managed facilities.
The battle to end the Ebola virus is registering tremendous success in Kampala city and the country at large and there is hope that the virus will be history soon.
In Kampala, it’s now day 18 since a case was reported in the city. However, to be declared epidemic free, the city has to hit 42 days without any new cases reported.
There is also good news that Uganda has discharged the last Ebola patient as announced by the Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary, Diana Atwine.
With this good news in the air, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Uganda has brought the good news of USD 60,000 support to the activities of the Kampala Capital City Authority Ebola task forces and leaders.
This support was announced during a High-level Engagement on “Leveraging partnerships for Public Health Emergency” that was held at the UNDP Uganda offices on Friday.
UNDP has also supported the procurement of 10,000 branded reflector jackets for boda-boda riders in Kampala to enable them to spread the message. The jackets have Ebola prevention messages in both Luganda and English languages.
Margaret Muhanga the State Minister for Primary Health Care officiated the event and commended UNDP for this kind of support.
“We want to thank UNDP for walking with us on this journey and supporting our efforts. For KCCA we have been walking this journey together since September 28, when the first case in the country was reported in Kasanda Mubende,” Muhanga said.
The minister also received five high-tech washing machines to aid the prevention and management of infections that have been donated to the Ministry of Health by UNDP.
She further commended UNDP for bringing together various stakeholders such as the Buganda Kingdom, the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda and KCCA (IRCU) which has helped a lot in responding to Ebola.
Dorothy Kisaka the KCCA Executive Director applauded the support by UNDP which will go a long way in helping improve public health challenges in the city.
“The effects of COVID-19 made it very difficult for the management of Ebola, without your support and partnership it would have not been easy,” Kisaka said.
When the first Ebola case was reported in Kampala on October 8, 2022, there were fears that the situation will go out of hand. The case was traveller who had moved to the city in search of better health care but thanks God the situation has been well managed.
“Kampala hosts over 1.5m people and interacts with over 4m in the day. It was a panic but we at KCCA had drafted a response plan as soon as the outbreak was declared in Uganda. By that time the Ministry of Health classified Kampala as a high-risk area because of the peculiarity of any capital City, our technical team had already undertaken scenario planning to guide prioritization of resources,” Kisaka said.
KCCA is promoting the Smart City Initiative that is anchored on three pillars, Technology, Infrastructure and People’s well-being.
“We are leveraging on the third pillar of the Kampala Smart City, of people’s well-being and we are focusing on public health. Covid19 and Ebola have taught us to pay more attention to public health,” Kisaka said.
UNDP Uganda Resident Rep Elsie Attafuah hailed the government of Uganda for its strong leadership in managing public health emergencies and noted that beyond health implications, Ebola has serious socio-economic impacts.
“Ebola is not just a health crisis but a social economic challenge and requires the whole response of government and stakeholders. UNDP will continue to look for innovations to continue supporting the response to such outbreaks,” Attafuah said.
The event was attended by the Mufti of Uganda Sheikh Shaban Mubajje who represented Archbishop Steven Mugalu Kazimba who is the chairperson of IRCU.
Buganda Kingdom information minister, Nuwa Kiyimba also attended and represented the Katikiro of Buganda Charles Peter Mayiga.
Both Buganda Kingdom and IRCU received visibility materials to be distributed in the community.
Dr Richard Kabanda, the Commissioner of Health Promotion, Education, and Communication said there are still a lot of myths and misinformation especially on social media concerning Ebola which is a challenge.
“I want to applaud the team at KCCA for the work done, we have not got so many cases and we were all so worried. Kampala has 18 confirmed cases and I’m happy we have spent a number of days without getting new cases but that does not mean we get relaxed but continue engaging communities,” Kabanda said.