In the middle of 2022, the entire world finally knows what it is like to face a highly contagious disease. For this reason, today more than ever the international context is capable of understanding the danger that Ebola implies in our African continent.
Although many see it as a distant horror story, for us it is a near and lurking threat. We know it, we live in a continent that little by little is trying to face the epidemic, but we lack infrastructure and resources. That, among other reasons, has brought us to the current context: the temporary closure of schools across Uganda.
A CONFUSED TRUTH
A little over a month ago, November 25, 2022, the authorities in the country ordered the closure of schools throughout the country to curb the disease. Something very unexpected, especially when weeks before the Ministry of Health stated that the number of infections was declining tukif.
The government indicates that it is due to a “precautionary” measure to prevent the spread of a new strain that comes from Sudan. However, the truth is before our eyes: the deaths of 8 children almost in a row from this disease was a clear enough warning.
WHAT IS THE ALERT LEVEL?
Mubende and Kassanda have been on “alert” since September 20, when a new Ebola outbreak was registered. By that date, the government officially registered more than 55 deaths among the 141 registered cases.
After several months applying certain biosecurity measures, official data indicates that cases are declining. Still, it’s too early to say that the outbreak has dissipated. According to the WHO, it takes at least 42 consecutive days without a single contagion to announce an official closure. These 42 days represent double the number of days it would take for the disease to incubate under ideal conditions.
VACCINES IN RECORD TIME
Against all odds, the vaccines to control the Ebola-Sudan virus strain arrived in our country on December 9. However, the first clinical trials still need to be carried out to attack the most serious cases.
Considering that the outbreak was only declared on September 20, local authorities celebrate the recent arrival of vaccines as a record, and this is not really an exaggeration. Receiving 1,200 vaccines with just 79 days to prepare is an impressive, almost historic turnaround time, when compared to previous opportunities.
Because of the fact, specialists in the area have not been slow to make their statements. For her part, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng Acero proudly affirms Uganda’s ability to organize quickly and carry out emergency-response medical studies.
To guarantee efficiency, speed and availability of resources, the clinical study will be sponsored by the WHO and other organizations dedicated to health.
At the moment, while the vaccines are evaluated and approved, the government must continue with its constant task of monitoring new cases, tracking points of infection, and making decisions to guarantee the reduction of patients at risk of death.