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By Goodluck Musinguzi

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) an international, independent, medical humanitarian organization was handed supplies worthy $995,000( Shs 3.6 Billion) to be used at 3 Ebola treatment and isolation units at Mulago National Referral Hospital, Masaka and Jinja Referral Hospitals.

Hon Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, Minister of Health witnessed some of the supplies on behalf of the government of Uganda at the Ministry of Health Headquarters in Wandegeya. The contribution is in-kind and will be handled by a third-party MSF.

“This timely support is necessary to strengthen our ongoing response to Ebola. We appreciate all our partners for their continued support. The support was channelled through World Health Organization Uganda from governments of the United Kingdom, Sweden and Luxembourg to equip the newly commissioned Ebola Treatment Unit at Mulago National Referral Hospital and isolation units in Masaka and Jinja”, said Hon Dr Aceng

Luxembourg is contributing with eight incinerators and air transport of WHO medical supplies to Uganda at the end of the month.

Sweden is contributing two 45KVA generators, and tents and has through WHO provided two staff to support the construction of the ETU at Mulago and the air transport of the equipment to Uganda.

The UK is contributing tents and flooring. The generators, tents and construction materials will be used to equip the Ebola Treatment Unit at Mulago Hospital, while the rest of the supplies will be sent to treatment and isolation units in Masaka and Jinja.

Uganda has been battling an outbreak of the deadly haemorrhagic fever since 20 September. As of 25 November, 55 of 141 confirmed Ebola patients had died across nine districts.

“WHO has been working closely with the Ministry of Health and organizations on the ground since the beginning of the outbreak. The provision of this equipment to the treatment units in the country adds to those efforts,” said Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, WHO Representative to Uganda.

Luxembourg, Sweden and the UK are providing assistance as members of the International Humanitarian Partnership, a network of European state actors that supports the UN and other agencies as they respond to natural disasters and other complex emergencies.

“Through the International Humanitarian Partnership network, Luxembourg is able to contribute to this multinational operation by providing equipment and logistics support in the context of the Ebola outbreak in Uganda. Joint preparedness for effective response is key in this context,” said Max Lamesch, Director for Humanitarian Action, MFEA Luxembourg.

“We are happy to complement planned financial support of US$ 2.3 million through the UN response plan, with staff secondments and equipment to support MoH and partners on the ground. This will boost the preparedness capacity in strategic locations at a critical time in the outbreak”, said HE Maria Håkansson, Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda.

“The UK is working closely with the Government of Uganda and WHO to respond to the ongoing Ebola outbreak. Over US$ 2.9 million in funding has been provided from the UK to UN agencies and partners on the ground, and UK experts with experience in previous outbreaks have been deployed into WHO teams. We are very happy to now also provide in-kind support, along with European partners, to help ensure Uganda is ready to respond as the outbreak develops,” said HE Kate Airey OBE, British High Commissioner to Uganda.

Even though there are no proven vaccines for Sudan ebolavirus, lives can be saved through optimized supportive care in treatment units.

Early diagnosis and monitoring of patients enable health workers to provide immediate care for dehydrated patients, which may include administering intravenous fluids, giving a glucose or other electrolytes if levels are low, ensuring adequate nutrition, and treating patients who have developed malaria or other infections with appropriate drugs.

Early diagnosis depends on excellent case investigation, contact tracing and rapid PCR testing. When the diagnosis is made at the onset of symptoms, patients fare better, and the spread of infection is limited.

WHO has launched an US$ 88.2 million appeal to reduce illness and death from the Sudan ebolavirus in Uganda and stop the virus from spreading, including into neighboring countries.

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