Ebola medical response teams undergo training at Mubende regional referral hospital in Mubende District on October 8, 2022. [Photo: Dan Wandera]

Ebola updates: Uganda Medical Association calls for Kampala lockdown

The head of the Uganda Medical Association says officials need to consider a lockdown in Kampala as the Ebola case count continues to rise in the capital, the Africa Times reported Wednesday.

The head of the Uganda Medical Association says officials need to consider a lockdown in Kampala as the Ebola case count continues to rise in the capital, the Africa Times reported Wednesday.

Dr. Samuel Oledo told local media outlets that he fears the worst is yet to come if aggressive measures delay. The number of Ebola cases in Kampala has risen to 15, adding new infections in just the past 48 hours.

As of Monday, the Ministry of Health reported a total of 95 confirmed cases and 28 deaths across Uganda.

“Kampala should have restriction of movement, let us hold Kampala when it is still early. The earlier we lockdown Kampala the better,” Oledo told KFM radio. “Ugandans are still taking it as something so minor. It is catastrophic that right now, people are not even reporting cases.”

As part of the Ebola response ordered by President Yoweri Museveni, heavily affected districts of Mubende and Kassanda were placed under a 21-day lockdown on October 15. No such restrictions have been placed on Kampala yet. 

Meanwhile, the Ugandan Daily Monitor reports that the health ministry is looking for about 300 people who are said to be contacts of the 15 Ebola cases confirmed in Greater Kampala.

“We have already about 300 we are following up,” Mr Emmanuel Ainebyona, the ministry spokesperson said on Tuesday. 

He said contacts are being monitored at isolation centres in Kampala town. 

The Director General of Health Services, Dr. Henry Mwebesa, on Monday revealed that at least 15 people from Greater Kampala area have tested positive for Ebola in a spate of less than a week.

Out of these, 11 are from Rubaga Division, one from Makindye Division, one from Nansana Municipality, and two from Seguku, Wakiso District.

“We have also insisted that all contacts in Kampala are isolated. We are trying to identify more quarantine centres in Kampala. Any contact in Kampala will be isolated, we are not allowing any home isolation,” Dr. Mwebesa told the press.

“So far, we have one isolation centre at Mulago National Referral Hospital with a capacity of 120 beds. More isolation centres will be opened at Old Mulago field. We are also discussing to agree where more isolation centres can be established,” he added.

He said those who suspect that they could be having Ebola should avoid interacting with the rest of the public or family members but instead seek guidance from health facilities.

Seven of the 15 people infected with Ebola in Kampala Metropolitan are members of one family whose member came from Kassanda but later died of Ebola.

Dr. Mwebesa also ruled out a possibility of an Ebola induced lockdown in Greater Kampala. 

Meanwhile, the cumulative number of people infected with Ebola has increased from 90 to 95 cases as of yesterday.

According to Dr. Mwebesa, all the new infections were registered in Mubende District.