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Health Workers Lament Lack of Preparedness for Ebola

Health workers have complained about a lack of preparedness in counties to respond to Ebola if the virus finds its way into Kenya.   The government is advised to be more careful and if not, Kenyan’s are the same people who will bring in the virus to Kenya.  The government and the counties need to do is to come up with a strategy of ensuring that we get proper gadgets that will help with monitoring and controlling the virus. Earlier this year on September 20, 2022, the Ugandan Ministry of Health confirmed an outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) (Sudan virus) in Mubende District, in western Uganda. This announcement came after a patient with a suspected viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) was identified and isolated at Mubende Regional Referral Hospital.

To prepare for any infections, the Ministry of Health has trained 75 workers so far in partnership with the World Health Organisation, with about 1,400 targeted. County governments have been asked to sensitise healthcare workers on infection, prevention, control measures, case management and sample management and to mobilise relevant stakeholders to initiate prevention, preparedness, and response. The Ministry of Health in a statement said  that training kicked off this week and will focus on “essential information and techniques required to deal with the disease as well as training on preparedness and response.

Uganda has lost four healthcare workers to Ebola, among the 30 fatalities and 109 cases that the country has recorded. The disease has since spread to four other districts – Kassanda, Kyegegwa, Bunyangabu and Kagadi. Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) chairman Peterson Wachira lamented that there are not enough skilled health workers to handle the disease. The Ministry of Health has identified 21 counties that are at high risk of infections. Border counties, such as Migori, Busia and Bungoma, have failed to adopt measures against possible Ebola.

The Ebola outbreak in Uganda puts Kenya at risk. Over the years Kenya [has grappled] with a sustainably functional healthcare system as evident in various disease outbreaks like Covid-19 and various emergencies. The country urgently needs a strong and functional healthcare system including critical healthcare workers that form rapid response teams, surveillance, and effective case management. The frontline healthcare workers are at high risk if the government doesn’t put in place critical measures to reduce contamination and manage cases efficiently. Medics urged the government to hire more critical healthcare staff and set up more isolation centers to address the constraint that may arise if Ebola hits the country.

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