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Uganda hosts African health officials over Ebola outbreak

African ministers and WHO officials gather for a high-level meeting in Kampala to discuss the increasing spread of the Ebola virus on the continent.   -  
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Cleared Twitter @ Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng Ocero, Uganda's health minister


Uganda is battling to contain the latest Ebola virus outbreak which has affected five districts and killed 19 people among whom 1 in Kampala.

More than 600 contacts are currently under "active follow-up", according to the WHO.

An Emergency Ministerial Meeting took place Wednesday (October 12). 

Uganda's government, with support from the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and WHO hosted African public health officials from 8 nations to plan cross-border cooperation.

"It is my sincere hope that working together we can come up with practical solutions to better protect our communities and reduce any chances of cross-border spread of this virus in the spirit of African solutions for African problems", Ugandan health minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng said.

Long-term solutions

Medical lab assistants and health professionals are on the frontline. 4 of them have died so far. 

If minister Aceng listed short-term tools such as community engagement which is essential for outbreak control purposes, she also urged her African counterparts to look for long-term solutions.

"In the long term, as governments, we need to bolster investment in research and development, innovation and manufacturing of health tools such as vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics to address the wide spectrum of diseases that threaten us", she said.

At the end of the meeting, health officials from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda endorsed measures to prevent the cross-border spread of the Sudan Ebolavirus.

The strain was detected in the east African country and an outbreak was declared on 20 September.

As no effective vaccine against the Sudan ebolavirus has been licensed yet, Ugandan health authorities have focused on supportive care for confirmed cases alongside stepping up testing, surveillance, infection prevention, and control.

There are at least six candidate vaccines against Sudan ebolavirus, which are in different stages of development. Three of them have Phase1 data (safety and immunogenicity data in humans), and the remaining are in the preclinical evaluation phase, according to the World Health Organization.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made an update on the latest Ebola virus outbreak in Uganda Wednesday. Tedros reported 54 confirmed cases and 20 probable cases.

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