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AFENET ACoDD Team sets off for Ebola Response in Kasese, Uganda

A team of 7 AFENET Corps of Disease Detectives (ACoDD) detective’s led by Dr Ben Masiira- Epidemiologist, AFENET, set off on 13 June 2019 to respond to the Ebola Outbreak to Kasese District, Western Uganda.

The team departed from the Public Health Emergency Operation Center in Kampala, accompanied by AFENET Communications Uit  at 7:00 am, and will be in the field to conduct contact tracing, surveillance, screening at cross border points, as well as work with health facilities to manage alerts.

On Tuesday 11th June 2019, the Ministry of Health confirmed an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Kasese, District Uganda. This followed laboratory confirmation from the Special Pathogens Laboratory of the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI). The patient confirmed was a 5 years old boy who had travelled to DRC with his family (The mother, grandmother and 3 year old brother) for a burial of a grandfather. The deceased was a confirmed EVD patient.  Press Release: https://health.go.ug/press-release

According to the WHO office in Uganda, the current EVD outbreak fulfills the criteria for Public Health Event of International Concern (PHEIC) given the Ebola Virus Disease can affect a large number of people with a case fatality rate between 5% and 67% or even above.

Dr. Patrick Tusiime, IHR National Focal Person for Uganda, emphasized that in the western region of Uganda, there is an increased risk of international movement especially for the burial of Queen Mother of the King of the Obusinga bwa Rwenzururu Kingdom, who passed away on 11 June 2019. This pauses a threat for the spread of EVD in Uganda and beyond.

The Ministry of Health has also launched several other response activities such as Cross border meetings between the Ministries of Health DRC and Uganda.  In addition, with support  from WHO, a National Rapid Response Team (jointly from the Epidemiology and Surveillance Division, the Public Health Fellowship Program, the Uganda Virus Research Institute and the National Animal Disease Diagnostics and the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries, and AFENET Corp of Disease Detectives (ACoDD) is being constituted, with specific Terms of Reference, and dispatched to the two affected districts to support the response activities and conducting further investigations.

The teams will also assist the districts to set up appropriate response structures. Specimen collection, transportation and testing are also being conducted and contact tracing is still on going.

Action steps taken thus far:

1. Kasese 

    1. Informed the attending health workers of the results

    2. DRRT Dispatched to Bwera yesterday night(11 Jun)

    3. DTF meeting today at 9:30 am

2. National Level

   1. Emergency NTF called

   2. Public declaration of Outbreak

   3. Field work in the taxi area to monitor the vehicles that are coming from Kasese

2. 72 Hour Response Plan Presentation (APPROVED)