WHO and Uganda Red Cross society sign agreement to strengthen Ebola screening at Points of Entry between Uganda and DRC

Kampala, 20 February 2019:- The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) have today signed a partnership agreement to strengthen Ebola screening for travelers crossing boarders across Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with an aim of saving lives.

Under the agreement, WHO with funding from DFID Uganda, will provide USD 161,662 to complement the Uganda Red Cross Society efforts to deploy man power to manage all the 25  mapped entry points at high risk.

The support will also go towards training frontline health workers and volunteers on infection prevention and control. This activity will be undertaken jointly by the Ministry of Health, WHO and the Uganda Red Cross technical officers.  

In addition, the Uganda Red Cross Society will procure and supply surveillance and screening materials at all points, while capturing data on travelers who may present “susceptible” signs of Ebola.

Travelers with symptoms related to Ebola will be taken to a care facility and provided with follow services at the different gazetted areas (Ebola treatment centers).

Other areas of support will include supported are procurement of additional equipment such as tents, furniture, hand washing facilities, thermometers and overhead costs of personnel as well as protective gears.

Standard Operating Procedures and algorithms for Ebola screening will be displayed at all the entry points and strictly followed by the screening teams and travelers. The Uganda Red Cross Society will ensure that the screening process and equipment at all entry points are standardized to increase the effectiveness in managing the Ebola preparedness process for Uganda.   

With the continued spread of Ebola in DRC, Countries bordering Uganda are on high alert and have strengthened their efforts in curbing the outbreak and ensuring that the disease does not spread to their countries. For Uganda, border screening is a major area of concern for health workers in Uganda given the proximity of the epicenter of the disease.  Thousands of people cross the border daily for trade, family, religious, health and education related services at both official and non-official border crossings, which increases of spreading the disease to the neighboring countries.

The situation is compounded by the influx of Congolese refugees to Uganda due to the security situation in North Kivu and Ituri provinces which are both affected by the current Ebola outbreak.

According to the Office of Prime Minister and statics from UNHCR(Feb 17th, 2019), an average of 177 refugees cross into Uganda every day from DR-Congo, bringing the total number of refugees from this country to 3008 – new arrivals this month and 6,459 this year. 
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