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Gov’t Bans Home Isolation For Ebola Contacts In Kampala

The Ministry of Health has revealed that all contacts to ebola patients will not be allowed to quarantine at home as has been the case for Covid-19 because of the high infection and fatality rates of ebola.

The revelation was made by Henry Mwebesa (pictured), Director General Health Services at the Ministry of Health during the training of journalists on reporting ebola epidemic in Uganda, where he defended this decision arguing that it isn’t easy and possible to have ebola contacts quarantined at home because of the huge numbers in Kampala and the high risk of the disease.

“Another decision we have made in Kampala is that once you are a contact, there is no home isolation. If I get into contact with somebody who has ebola, you will go for isolation like anybody else because the issue of home isolation or home quarantine isn’t negotiable now. Because you know Kampala is a big area, too crowded, difficult to control, so you can’t start negotiating on issues that I can go home like we used to do with Covid-19,” said Mwebesa.

He also admitted that the Ministry of Health wasn’t in position to receive alerts when ebola broke out in Mubende, blaming the delays on conspiracy theories where locals mistook the deadly disease for witchcraft, myths he said could have led to the earlier unconfirmed deaths.

“There has been a lot of misinformation about witchcraft, you know especially when this problem started in the villages, people thought it was witchcraft over land, property, cars, so people thought they were being bewitched because of those kind of reasons. That is why we even took some time without detecting the problem. People sat on the problem thinking it was witchcraft instead of alerting the health workers,” Mwebesa explained.

It should be recalled that on 15th September 2022, Ministry of Health confirmed the outbreak of ebola in Mubende district after the first isolated case of a 24year old man was confirmed in Mubende referral hospital and the Ministry verified six other deaths with similar symptoms, although they had been buried before the Ministry could confirm ebola as cause of death.

Uganda has suffered similar ebola outbreaks in the past years following outbreaks in districts like; Gulu and Kiryandongo, Kibale and Luwero,  Bundibugyo.

Mwebesa also revealed that as at 25th October 2022, Uganda had a cumulative 95 cases, 28deaths, 33 active cases and 34 cumulative recoveries.

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