The World Health Organisation (WHO) representative in Uganda, Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, has announced that they have received a total of $4.3 million (Shs16.4 billion) in donations to help in the fight against Ebola Virus Disease in Uganda.
Dr Woldemariam said the WHO head office in Geneva, Switzerland, donated $2 million (Shs7.6 billion), the Norwegian Embassy gave $1.8 million (Shs6.9 billion) while the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) contributed $500,000 (Shs1.9 billion).
Dr Woldemariam said the money will be used to facilitate surveillance teams as they carry out their work, which include contact tracing, case investigation and laboratory testing, among others.
He added that they will also provide cars and ambulances as well as fuel for the vehicles.
“We have [already] put in about two dozen cars in Mubende to ensure there is a proper surveillance system and so forth…,” Dr Woldemariam said.
He added that part of the money will be used to recruit and deploy additional health professionals such as epidemiologists and doctors, among others, to reinforce the Ministry of Health and the health response teams in the affected districts.
“There are a lot of people we are facilitating to ensure that the services go ahead,” he said.
The WHO representative further said their focus will be in the districts of Mubende and Kassanda, the epicentre of the disease.
President Museveni last week imposed a 21-day lockdown on the two districts to contain the Ebola outbreak that has claimed 24 lives.
“We work by providing support to the government. It doesn’t mean that we necessarily give the money directly to the government,” he added.
When contacted yesterday on the matter, the Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary, Dr Diana Atwiine, said she was not aware of the donations.
“We don’t have that information so I will not comment on it,” she said.
About Uganda’s capacity to fight the pandemic, Dr Woldemariam said Uganda “has the experience, it has shown its capacity in the past, its transparency, and I am comfortable with what they’re planning to do, for now I am very comfortable”.
The government declared the outbreak of the Ebola Sudan virus on September 20 in Mubende District.
With support from WHO and other partners, the government promptly set up an Ebola treatment centre at the Mubende Regional Referral Hospital and deployed health workers and emergency services to the site.
In addition to training healthworkers in case management and infection prevention and control, WHO has also provided sufficient Ebola kits to treat patients as it seeks to help Uganda overcome the outbreak.