Medical

In Congo, Ebola outbreak and war spread fear to neighboring nations

In Congo, Ebola outbreak and war spread fear to neighboring nations

The vaccination programme launches on Wednesday with support from the World Health Organization, targeting 2,000 frontline workers in districts close to DRC's North Kivu province, which is now experiencing an outbreak of the deadly virus.

A total of 2100 doses of "rVSV-Ebola" vaccine are to be administered to the health workers to protect them against Zaire type virus, the strain that is now circulating in some parts of DRC.

The Ebola virus is highly contagious and causes a range of symptoms including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, generalized pain or malaise and in many cases internal and external bleeding.

Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, the World Health Organization representative to Uganda said the vaccination as a huge step in mitigating the risk of Ebola among healthcare workers.

Ugandan officials say twice-weekly market days _ during which 10,000 Congolese cross into Uganda _ have put the country at high risk. "Scientists believe such invaluable lives would have been saved had a vaccine been in existence then".

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.




Ebola broke out in Eastern DRC province in August this year and it has since killed about 200 people according to World Health Organization report and it reportedly continues to spread to areas close to Uganda.

The vaccine is, therefore, being used on a compassionate basis, to protect persons at highest risk of the Ebola outbreak, under a "ring vaccination" strategy, which is similar to the approach used to eradicate smallpox.

Uganda shares a border with Congo, and both nations experience a robust movement of people between them as a result of trade and the region's high population.

The five districts prone to the disease include Ntoroko where the drive will start from on Wednesday, Kabarole, Bunyangabu, Kasese, and Buindibugyo.

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.

This preventive exercise has begun in the Ntoroko district which is located in central Africa. He assured them about its potency and ability to protect them effectively.