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09 November 2018, 02:12 | Rodolfo Wallace
WHO Director Will Visit Congolese Areas Affected by Ebola
Uganda has started vaccinating health workers against Ebola in a border district near the outbreak in Congo, where the highly infectious viral disease has killed 189 people.
The exercise, which began on Tuesday, is centred around five high-risk districts of Uganda that border the DRC (Bundibugyo, Kabarole, Kasese, Ntoroko and Bunyangabu) and involves the administering of 2,100 doses of vaccine to health workers, protecting them against the particular strain of Ebola now circulating in some parts of DRC, United Nations news reported.
An outbreak of Ebola in the DRC has claimed 180 lives so far, and with high numbers of people moving across the border "the public health risk of cross-border transmission of Ebola to Uganda was assessed to be very high", according to minister Jane Ruth Aceng.
In late August, the United States withdrew some of CDC's most seasoned Ebola experts who had been stationed in Beni, the urban epicentre, because of security risks.
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.
Dozens of armed militias operate in the area, attacking government outposts and civilians, complicating the work of Ebola response teams and putting their security at risk.
"Some communities are losing hope and feeling exhausted after several years of violence".
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The drug targets the Zaire virus species, the most "vicious of the Ebola types", Woldemariam said.
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The WHO said last month that Congo's outbreak does not yet warrant being declared a global emergency but called for an "intensified" response. Since then there have been regular outbreaks across Central and West African countries.
Officials fear the epidemic will spread from neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo and are implementing the plan so healthcare workers don't catch the virus and spread it.
Uganda has for the first time imitated a vaccination drive against Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (EHF) as a preventive measure against the disease that has for the past months ravaged neighbours, DR Congo.
Authorities insist vaccination will be totally voluntary and that frontline workers - who may include hospital cleaners and other auxilliary staff - would need to give "informed consent". It can also spread through sexual contact.
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