Malteser International Responds to First Case of Ebola Virus in Uganda
Cologne/Kampala. Malteser International is intensifying its aid efforts after the confirmation of a first case of the Ebola virus in Uganda.
“Our fears in the last months have now been confirmed,” said Roland Hansen, Malteser International’s Team Leader for Africa. “The epidemic in the DR Congo has now spread to a neighboring country. We will be allocating an additional €100,000 from funding provided by the German Federal Foreign Office to train and prepare more health workers to manage suspected cases as well as to distribute more protective equipment and disinfectants. Our ultimate goal must now be to prevent further spread of the disease and ensure that a catastrophe like the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa never happens again,”
Since the end of 2018, Malteser International has been working to help mitigate the spread of the virus, training health personnel in Uganda along border regions with the DR Congo on how to recognize symptoms and handle patients effectively.
The current Ebola epidemic in the DR Congo is occurring in a densely populated area, where frequent armed conflict between rebel groups have complicated response activities. “Health stations are being attacked and health workers have had to stop working for days on end,” Hansen said. “These are very challenging conditions that increase the risk of the disease spreading, both within DR Congo and to neighboring countries. In addition, the available funds are far from sufficient to get to grips with this problem rapidly.”
On Tuesday, the Uganda Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed the country’s first case of Ebola; a 5-year-old child from the DR Congo who recently travelled to Uganda with his family. The current Ebola epidemic in DR Congo broke out in July of 2018 and is the country’s most devastating outbreak. So far, as many as 1,400 deaths have been reported.
Malteser International is the humanitarian relief agency of the Sovereign Order of Malta. With over 100 projects annually in some 25 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, Malteser International has been standing by those affected by poverty, disease, conflict and disaster, helping them lead a healthy life with dignity – without distinction of religion, race or political persuasion. Christian values and the humanitarian principles build the foundation of its work. For more information: www.malteser-international.org and www.orderofmalta.int