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Ebola in Uganda: Red Cross and community members fight the virus’s spread

Ebola in Uganda: Red Cross and community members fight the virus’s spread

The Uganda Red Cross Society conducts safe and dignified burials for community members suspected to have died of Ebola

Uganda is currently facing an outbreak of the Ebola Viral Disease (EVD). The first case of the EVD was reported on 20th September 2022 and the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) immediately activated an Ebola Preparedness and response program to fight the spread.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched an Emergency Appeal to scale up these activities—targeting 2.7 million people.

Robert Kwesiga, Uganda Red Cross Secretary General, said:

“We have trained our volunteers to conduct safe and dignified burials and carry out health promotion activities. We are engaging communities directly with information about Ebola symptoms and how to prevent further risk, including early detection of new cases”.

The last Ebola outbreak in Uganda was in 2020, when more than ten districts experienced the virus’s wrath, particularly areas neighbouring the country’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Regular cross-border communications, information sharing, and support helps mitigate risk and enables Red Cross and Red Crescent teams in neighbouring countries to conduct effective readiness activities and scale up their responses, if necessary.

Papa Moussa Tall, IFRC Head of Delegation for Uganda, Tanzania and South Sudan said:

“The Ebola virus is devastating for families, but I am relieved that we are able to offer experienced teams and lessons learned from past outbreaks to help. The IFRC—through our Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF)—has activated resources to support the Uganda Red Cross to quickly respond and save lives”.

The IFRC urgently seeks CHF 10 million to address gaps and procure Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for URCS staff and volunteers, who are at the forefront of the Ebola response. IFRC’s appeal will help address these and other needs, such as building the URCS team’s capacity to manage safe and dignified burials.

Tall added: “The Red Cross has deployed ambulances to the most affected districts to support quick evacuation of probable cases to the nearest Ebola treatment centres”.

The Uganda Red Cross has more than 500,000 volunteers and members spread across 51 branches and over 300 staff members including a skilled health department with health experts in areas directly linked to the epidemic response. The IFRC’s Community Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness Programme (CP3) is currently being implemented, with focus on community epidemic and pandemic preparedness. The Uganda Red Cross is part of the task force that leads the response efforts as the country puts up a fight against the epidemic.

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