Harriett Baldwin describes confirmed Ebola cases in Uganda as ‘devasting’

Harriett Baldwin
Harriett Baldwin

International Development Minister and Minister for Africa, Harriett Baldwin has described the Ugandan government’s confirmation of three Ebola cases in the country as ‘devastating’.

 “It is devastating to hear that cases of Ebola have now been confirmed in Uganda and tragically a child has lost their life,” she said.

“The UK government has been the leading donor for Ebola preparedness in Uganda, training health workers on the ground and providing medical equipment to deal with this virus.

“We stand ready to provide further support, but are also calling on the global community to step up. It is more important than ever that we work together to end this deadly outbreak”.

A five-year old boy and his 51-year old grandmother have died and the authorities have also identified eight contact cases.

Since 2000, Uganda has had five Ebola outbreaks. In the last outbreak (2012), there were 24 reported cases and 17 deaths. Efforts to strengthen Uganda’s health system to be prepared for such outbreaks, including through UK support, means Uganda should be well placed to manage and respond to these new cases.

UK aid has funded Uganda’s preparedness effort since the current Ebola outbreak began in August 2018. This has involved training for health workers, the provision of eight ambulances and sixty-three motorbikes to support the management of suspected cases, including in refugee settlements.

As a leading donor, the UK is coordinating other international donors to support Government of Uganda’s plans to limit the possible spread of Ebola. This has included working closely with the EU, US and Ireland.

UK experts have provided on the ground briefing to donor partners, using extensive knowledge of the disease to advise and guide the use of resources to prevent the spread of the disease.
Public Health England (PHE) continues to assess that the risk to the UK from the outbreak is negligible-very low, even after the confirmed cases on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

DRC is battling the second largest Ebola outbreak in history and the first-ever in a conflict zone, with more than 70 armed groups operating in the east of the country. The number of cases has surpassed 2,000 and the death toll has reached 1,390.

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