Uganda’s President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni has criticized a family in Mubende District for defying health workers, and for being partly responsible for the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in their village where at least 10 people have succumbed to the viral haemorrhagic disease.
On October 12, Gen Museveni delivered his second address on EVD since the Ebola outbreak was declared in the District of Mubende last month.
In his address, the president revealed the secrets of Twagiira Yezu Ndahiiro aka Kakono, the latest man to die of Ebola and Kampala’s first EVD death.
Museveni noted that Twagiira Yezu Ndahiiro aka Kakono had been a contact to his late brother who passed away on September 18 after infecting six health workers, two of whom have since succumbed to Ebola.
But Twagiira Yezu Ndahiiro aka Kakono would escape from Mubende and run to a witchdoctor in Luweero District.
“I have been told by Ministry of Health that a 45 year old male called Twagiira Yezu Ndahiiro aka Kakono who was a known contact under follow up escaped from his home in Kanseera Village, Kirwanyi Parish, Kiruuma Sub-county, Mubende District and travelled to Luweero District to seek treatment from a traditional healer. Thereafter, he was taken to Kiruddu National Referral Hospital in Kampala at 5:00pm, on 6th October, 2022 and died at 3:00am on 7th October, 2022,” narrated Museveni.
“Twagiira was a previously listed contact to his brother, Nzairwa Cleophas, an 18 year old, who died during a surgical procedure on 18th September, 2022, at Mubende Hospital. It is this Nzairwa Cleophas who exposed our 6 health workers to Ebola infection, 2 of whom died. On 23rd September, 2022, Twagiira was listed as a contact by Ministry of Health surveillance teams and was being followed up but he became elusive and disappeared from his residence. It is reported that on 3rd October, 2022, his condition deteriorated and was taken by his family to a traditional healer in Luweero district. However, he did not improve.”
Twagiira’s relatives in Kampala would then rush him to Kiruddu where he died. At Kiruddu, Twagiira used other names other than the one for which he was being tracked. He was thought to have kidney challenges, and not Ebola.
His body would later be transported back home on top of a taxi. It would later emerge that Twagiira is the same contact that had escaped from Mubende. Samples from the body would later test positive for Ebola.
“Thereafter, on 6th October, 2022, with the help of his wife, Mutoni and his other brother, Taata Juya, who are residents of Busega and Nateete respectively, he was moved to Kiruddu Hospital for further management. While in Kiruddu hospital, Twagiira gave wrong names and address to divert the health workers’ attention from associating him with the ongoing Ebola outbreak in Mubende. The health workers at Kiruddu suspected him to have liver/kidney problems and peptic ulcers. Because of this, the health workers used protective wear while attending to him. He died 10 hours later,” continued Museveni.
“The relatives requested for his body which they transported on top of a taxi to his village in Kanseera, Mubende District, the same morning. The DISO, DPC and Village Chairman made efforts to intercept the commuter taxi that carried the body but failed to locate it. However, they were able to intervene to have a supervised burial conducted by the burial teams in Mubende. A sample from the deceased was taken off by the burial team, tested the same day and returned positive for Ebola.”
At least 15 people have been quarantined after they got into contact with Twagiira’s body. Three other contacts fled the village.
“On the 10th October 2022, early in the morning, the LC III Chairperson of Kiruuma Sub-County, Ahimbisibwe Stephen called the surveillance and security officers to inform them that he and the LC I of Kanseera Village, Mr. Bangirana and the entire community had surrounded the family of the deceased and wanted intervention of the health workers,” the president said.
“Immediately, action was taken by the District leaders and health workers and 15 contacts were picked from three homes and taken for institutional quarantine in Madudu for close observation. However, three escaped before they could be picked for quarantine and are being searched for by security assisted by their relatives in quarantine. The institutional quarantine is near the Madudu HC III Isolation facility.”
Further noting that Twagiira and Nzairwa belong to an extended family living in three homesteads in Kyamuhingi Cell in Kanseera Village, Mubende District, the president revealed that the family had moved from DR Congo several years ago and settled in Mubende District.
He accused members of this family of grabbing the body of a person who had died of Ebola and of hiding a person confirmed to be suffering from EVD.
The family is now a super spreader of Ebola. At least 10 people from Kanseera Village have died of Ebola.
“I am told, that this same family recently on 1st October, 2022, hijacked a dead body of a confirmed EVD case and performed traditional burial rituals, in total disregard to the SOPs for managing dead bodies of confirmed cases. This same family was also hiding a confirmed Ebola case called Katushabe Emmanuel, 49-year-old male who died on 10th October 2022, shortly before they were rounded off. The village where this family stays has so far lost 10 people to Ebola,” the president noted.
“The behavior exhibited by this family of refusing follow up, running away to look for treatment at the witch doctors’ shrines, telling lies and hijacking dead bodies of Ebola cases for rituals poses a great risk of spreading Ebola to the communities and the surrounding districts. We cannot allow this to go on because it puts the lives of all Ugandans at risk and disrupts normal activities in the area and the entire country.”
The president has ordered the family to cooperate with the district officials and health workers.
“They should stop moving around seeking treatment from witch doctors. I am happy that majority are under quarantine. Those who ran away should come back for close observation so that if they fall sick, treatment can be started early. Those who are in hiding should come out immediately and report to the health workers for proper follow up,” he added.
Meanwhile, Museveni has issued Ebola prevention guidelines and directives, including those to do with Bodabodas, witchdoctors and pastors praying for miracles to happen to the sick. (Read Story Here).
The president also addressed the issue of panic in Kampala over Ebola. (Read Story Here).