Ebola in Uganda
The Ebola outbreak in Uganda occurred in September 2022. In October 2022, the Ugandan Ministry of Health reported 43 cases and 29 deaths due to the rare Sudan strain of Ebola which can have up to a 90% mortality rate. However, outbreaks may now become less of a problem in Uganda as a consequence of the rest of the world’s increasing pandemic preparedness in the wake of COVID-19.
Previously, Uganda was not able to fortify its healthcare system due to a lack of support and funding. As a result, when this rare strain of Ebola began to attack several districts in the country, Uganda did not have the infrastructure necessary to appropriately contain it. One can see this as a clear indicator that countries like Uganda are still in need of a lot of help, especially from countries like the United States. Patients that have or are suspected of having Ebola also often are diagnosed with malaria which is another sign of people who are in need of assistance.
Uganda’s poverty rate has been climbing for the last decade due to a lack of infrastructure and economic growth. This has made it more difficult to effectively fight against the Ebola outbreak. Uganda does not have enough trained personnel in order to service all of the infected individuals.
Organizations like Doctors Without Borders have stepped in, erecting temporary hospitals, to provide initial emergency assistance. Meanwhile, on October 6, 2022, USAID donated materials in order to help treat patients who have contracted the disease. It has deployed supplies in a timely manner in hopes that the spread does not get any worse and impact Uganda even more.
The quickness and severity of this outbreak are signs of larger struggles that the country is having when it comes to its economy and healthcare systems. There has been a noticeable response from within and outside of the country but if efforts do not keep up, the effects of this outbreak may only become worse and more noticeable in this community.
USAID, by way of the World Health Organization (WHO), has also provided support to Uganda by providing three viral hemorrhagic fever kits to help combat the spread of Ebola and an assortment of PPE to ensure the safety of all individuals in the area. These supplies have proven invaluable to the efforts of slowing this outbreak and continued support will likely be necessary for a while.
Uganda does have experience fighting outbreaks similar in nature to this one as it fought an Ebola outbreak in 2019 and completely contained it in less than a year. Hope exists that with that experience, they will be able to have the situation under control in less time than that and Ugandans will be able to return to normalcy.
– Alex Peterson