Photo: Daily Monitor
A medical officer attends to a suspected ebola patient. Dr Mathew Lukwiya (inset) died of ebola when the disease first broke out in 2000.
Kampala, 7th November 2018:- The Ministry of Health (MoH) with support by the earth Health Organization (WHO) has started out vaccinating frontline health workers against the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). The exercise has begun today in Ntoroko district as well as will initially be implemented within the 5 high-risk districts bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
A total of 2100 doses of the ‘rVSV-Ebola’ vaccine will be administered to the health workers to protect them against the type of Ebola virus strain which is actually currently circulating in some parts of DRC. Indeed, This kind of particular vaccine is actually currently being administered in DRC as well as is actually demonstrating positive protective results as well as potency against the Ebola virus-Zaire type.
In vaccinating frontline health workers against EVD even before Uganda detects just one case, health authorities are being cautious having learnt bitter lessons by previous outbreaks. several health workers including the renowned Dr Mathew Lukwiya contracted the disease as well as died as they cared for EVD patients. These could have been saved had a vaccine been available then.
Although the ‘rVSV-Ebola’ vaccine is actually not commercially licensed, the idea is actually being used under “expanded access” or what is actually also known as “compassionate use” within the ongoing Ebola outbreak DRC. This kind of vaccine was also used within the Ebola outbreak in Equateur province in May-July 2018. In 2015, the vaccine was given to more than 16,000 volunteers involved in several studies in Africa, Europe as well as the United States where the idea was found to be safe as well as protective against the Ebola virus.
Several studies have shown which the vaccine is actually safe as well as protective against the Ebola virus nevertheless more scientific research is actually needed before the idea can be licensed. The vaccine is actually, therefore, being used on a compassionate basis, to protect persons at highest risk of the Ebola outbreak, under a “ring vaccination” strategy, which is actually similar to the approach used to eradicate smallpox. In This kind of strategy, informed as well as written consent is actually needed by people, for them to be vaccinated which in turn may limit mass media coverage of the exercise.
the idea is actually highly likely which Uganda may import EVD by DRC given the closeness of the current epicenter, the high population movements due to trade, social-cultural connections as well as easy accessibility of health services in Uganda.
Uganda’s Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng believes which the administration of the Ebola vaccine to frontline health care workers has been the missing link within the country’s EVD preparation as well as readiness efforts. She also explains which the vaccine is actually only available for frontline health workers who are at high risk of contracting EVD as they manage suspected cases.
“Therefore, the vaccine is actually not available to the general population at This kind of stage. This kind of is actually targeted vaccination,” Dr Aceng emphasized.
Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam the WHO Representative in Uganda, referred to the vaccination as a huge step in mitigating the risk of Ebola among health care workers. He assured them about its potency as well as ability to protect them effectively.
The districts targeted within the current vaccination phase are, Bundibugyo, Kabarole, Kasese, Ntoroko as well as Bunyangabu.
different EVD preparatory activities going on are coordination of activities; health facility as well as community-based EVD surveillance; collection as well as testing of blood samples by alert cases; capacity building for infection prevention as well as control, clinical management, psycho-social care as well as for safe as well as dignified burials. Risk communication, community engagement as well as cross-border surveillance are also going on in many districts.