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IT’S NOT WITCHCRAFT! Museveni Minister Warns Ugandans as Ebola Cases, Deaths Rise

A health worker putting on protective gear. Photo by WHO Uganda

Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng has warned locals against confusing cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) with witchcraft as cases and deaths continued to rise. 

Last week, Uganda’s Ministry of Health (MoH) confirmed the outbreak of the Ebola Sudan strain in the district of Mubende.

Ebola has since been confirmed in the districts of Kassanda and Kyegegwa.

According to MoH, as of Thursday, September 29, EVD cumulative cases stood at 35 while cumulative deaths stood at seven.

MoH officials have been in districts where Ebola has been confirmed to try and sensitize communities about the viral haemorrhagic disease, how to prevent its spread and how to reduce fatalities.

In Kassanda District, over 15  members of Village Health Teams (VHTs) from the Sub County of Namabale have completed training on Ebola Risk Communication to their respective communities.

In the same district, Minister Aceng and State Minister for Health for General Duties Anifa Kawooya Bangirana addressed members of the Kassanda District Task Force on Ebola Virus Disease. Kassanda has registered two confirmed Ebola cases to date and two suspected cases whole at least 33 contacts are listed and being followed up. 

In Mityana District, MoH has conducted the orientation of over 60 religious leaders from Church of Uganda’s Mityana Diocese districts of Mityana, Mubende, Kasanda, Kiboga and Kyankwanzi on Ebola Virus Disease Risk Communication.

On September 30, Minister Aceng closed the district Ebola Response Assessment in Kyegegwa District. As of today, Kyegegwa has confirmed three cases of Ebola. 

“I am pleased with their organization and district leadership. Our teams on ground have oriented the district task force, surveillance teams, sample removers and risk communication teams,” said Minister Aceng after the meeting. 

She also called on leaders to ensure that communities understand the magnitude of the Ebola outbreak in Uganda so that locals will stop thinking it is a form of witchcraft. 

“People are not dying of witchcraft, they are dying due to Ebola,” said the minister, who is also the Lira City Woman MP.

“The public should cooperate with the health workers and response teams to curb the spread of this outbreak.”

Uganda confirmed the outbreak of Ebola last week. (Read Story Here).

An isolation centre was set up at the Mubende Regional Referral Hospital but some patients escaped from the quarantine unit. One of these collapsed at another hospital where he took himself with Ebola symptoms such as bleeding, while another reportedly crossed to Tanzania through the Mutukula Border Point. (Read Story Here).

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Meanwhile, President Museveni has made it clear there will be no Ebola lockdown. (Read Story Here).

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