Uganda begins Ebola vaccination for high-risk health workers

Nov 09, 2018, 01:17
Uganda begins Ebola vaccination for high-risk health workers

The exercise, which began on Tuesday, is centred around five high-risk districts of Uganda that border the DRC (Bundibugyo, Kabarole, Kasese, Ntoroko and Bunyangabu) and involves the administering of 2,100 doses of vaccine to health workers, protecting them against the particular strain of Ebola now circulating in some parts of DRC.

Fighting fear and mistrust has been a big problem for health workers in various Ebola outbreaks.Ebola has popped up multiple times in Central Africa since it was first identified in 1976.

"It is highly likely that Uganda may import Ebola virus disease from DRC given the closeness of the current epicenter, the high population movements due to trade, social-cultural connections and easy accessibility of health services in Uganda", the WHO said.

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No cases have been reported in Uganda so far, but health care workers in high-risk districts bordering the Congo are getting vaccinated as a precaution, health officials said.

In vaccinating frontline health workers against EVD even before Uganda detects a single case explains that health authorities are being cautious having learnt bitter lessons from previous outbreaks. It will be administered only to around 2000 first contact health care workers who are working near the borders of DRC in the north Kivu province says the WHO and would not be available for the general public.

The deadly Ebola virus has infected 300 people in Congo since an outbreak erupted nearly two months ago in the country's east, the health ministry said on Tuesday. "Scientists believe such invaluable lives would have been saved had a vaccine been in existence then".

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The districts targeted in the current vaccination phase are Bundibugyo, Kabarole, Kasese, Ntoroko and Bunyangabu.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, will visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from November 5 to 9, where several regions suffer the appearance of Ebola.

Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, the World Health Organization representative in Uganda said the vaccine - rVSV-ZEBOV - was close to 100 percent effective and carried few risks.

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Uganda has for the first time imitated a vaccination drive against Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (EHF) as a preventive measure against the disease that has for the past months ravaged neighbours, DR Congo. He assured them about its potency and ability to protect them effectively.

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