UPDF medics undergo training in Ebola response

FORT PORTAL- The Uganda People’s Defense Forces [UPDF] in partnership with the Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation [WHO] have trained UPDF medical personnel on how to respond fast in case Ugandan soldiers operating in eastern DR Congo catch Ebola.

According to the UPDF deputy director of public health and coordinator of contingency plan against Ebola, Lt.Col.Dr.Francis Xavier Bakehena, they have put in place safeguard contingency measures in case the epidemic strikes in the areas where Ugandan soldiers under Operation Shujja are based in DR Congo.

Bakehena said although they have trained their soldiers specifically on Ebola, they are also tracking other epidemics like Monkeypox, Marburg, and other hemorrhagic fevers that are prevalent in DR Congo.

Bakehena was speaking during the training of 32 UPDF medical personnel from Mountain Division at Kalya Courts in Fort Portal city on Wednesday.

He said the training was intended to impart knowledge to health workers in detecting Ebola, and responding to alerts within the communities where UPDF operates in Eastern DR Congo.

“Currently, there are reports of Ebola outbreak in DR Congo [Mbadaka health risk zone] which is 200 kilometres away from where our troops are operating,” he said.

He said although authorities in DR Congo have declared the country Ebola-free, they don’t want to take chances.

Bakehena said in order to prevent the spread of Ebola and other hemorrhagic diseases, they will roll out a vaccination programme for all the troops operating in DR Congo and those surrounding the international b.

“We intend to vaccinate all our troops operating in DRC and those at the borderline right from West Nile up to Kisoro. We have also put our soldiers on alert. especially medics to report anybody with signs of Ebola,” he said.

During the training, officers were taught how to use personal protective gears, surgical respirators, how to carry out safe and dignified burial of Ebola cases, how to isolate Ebola suspects, contact tracing, sample collection, and testing.

Currently, there are no signs of the epidemic virus disease within operation Shujja area of operation.


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