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Ebola knows no VIP, leaders warned

Author: Garang Abraham | Published: Friday, June 14, 2019

Ebola has claimed two lives in western Uganda so far © AFP / ISAAC KASAMANI

Health authorities have appealed to VIPs to undergo Ebola screening upon arrival in the country just like everyone else.

The Ministry of health, with support from its partners, launched the second Ebola Preparedness Plan after confirmation of two cases in Uganda’s Kasese District, near DR Congo.

This places South Sudan in critical position because it shares common boarders with Uganda and DR Congo where nearly 1,400 people are confirmed or believed to have died from Ebola.

As a result, the Ministry of Health built and launched the second Ebola Preparedness Plan to back up the first one.

The updated 6-month plan aims at preventing spread of the virus from the neighboring countries and to adequately prepare for possible outbreak in South Sudan.

Dr. Richard Laku, the Director-General at the Ministry of health said “the new plan builds on achievements from the previous periods, identifies gaps and priorities activities for another six months.”

“The urgent steps going forward are to improve existing surveillance with greater focus on communities based surveillance, scale up trainings for frontline health workers, improve and increase numbers of isolation units, expand risks communication, and communities mobilization and containment plan will be put in place,” he said.

At the launch of the Ebola Preparedness Plan yesterday, health partners said they have observed that those who consider themselves important avoid the Ebola desk.

They said some VIPs, including ministers, hop into their vehicles which normally wait for them on the runway of the Juba International Airport.

The international health partners said this is a threat to the Ebola Preparedness Plan.

In response, the Minister of Health – Dr. Riek Gai – promised to engage leaders on the importance of Ebola screening at the Juba International airport and the border crossings:

“I think this is a very good point and it is timely for us to remind ourselves that Ebola doesn’t know VIP,” Dr Gai seconded the partners, which include W.H.O, MSF, UNICEF, OCHA, CORDAID, and UNMISS.

“So, I think that is a very important point, I will asked the undersecretary Dr. Makur Matur to pick up from here to engage all authorities.”

Caused by the Ebola virus, Ebola is a severe and often deadly disease in humans and monkeys.

It is characterized by high fever and severe internal bleeding and can be spread from person to person.

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