President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday ordered traditional healers to stop treating the sick to halt the spread of Ebola, which has already claimed the lives of 19 people in the impoverished East African country.
In a televised address to the nation, he also ordered security officials to arrest anyone suspected of contracting the often fatal hemorrhagic fever if they refuse to self-isolate.
His instructions follow a regional ministerial meeting in Kampala focused on emergency response to the outbreak after Uganda last month announced its first death from the highly contagious disease since 2019.
World Health Organization (WHO) Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has earlier said clinical trials of Ebola vaccines could begin “in the coming weeks” in Uganda, where the virus is still rampant.
Ugandan Health Minister Jane Ruth Acenga told AFP on Wednesday that a fatal case had been recorded in Kampala, with an infected person who left the central district of Mubende where the outbreak was first reported. time, and who later died in hospital in the Ugandan capital.
“Sorcerers, traditionalists and herbalists should not accept sick people now. Stop what you are doing,” President Museveni added.
“There is no witchcraft here. Ebola is a disease. Communities in affected areas need to know that Ebola is deadly and is spread through contact with the affected person,” he said.
“Several vaccines against this virus are in different stages of development, two of them could be used for clinical trials in Uganda in the coming weeks, depending on regulatory and ethical clearances from the Ugandan government,” added Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. during the emergency ministerial meeting against the epidemic.
“Unfortunately, the Ebola vaccines that have been so effective in controlling recent Ebola outbreaks in DR Congo are not effective against the type of Ebola virus that is responsible for the current outbreak in Uganda,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. . In question: a strain from Sudan.
The director of the WHO, who participated in this meeting from Geneva, counted 54 proven and 20 probable cases, to which must be added 660 contact cases under “active monitoring”.
The first case was reported on September 20 in the central district of Mubende. Several infections were then identified in four other regions.
“Our main objective now is to help the government of Uganda quickly control and contain this epidemic, to stop its spread to neighboring districts and countries,” Dr. Tedros told reporters.
The risk of intercountry transmission is “high due to movement between Uganda and other countries”, the WHO said.
Uganda, an East African country, has experienced several Ebola outbreaks, including the last in 2019 which killed at least five people. Often fatal, this virus causing haemorrhagic fevers was discovered in 1976 and is particularly prevalent in the west of the continent.
The worst epidemic in this area, between 2013 and 2016, killed more than 11,300 people.
Last week, the United States decreed stricter screening of travelers from Uganda.
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Uganda: President forbids traditional healers to cure Ebola patients | Africanews
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