The Red Cross in Uganda says the country’s health system is taking strain as the number of cases of Ebola rises.

The Ministry of Health says at least nine people have died now from the virus, including a doctor, and there is a total of 43 confirmed cases since the outbreak was declared on 20 September.

Ebola causes an acute, serious illness that is often fatal if untreated. It spreads between humans by direct contact with contaminated bodily fluids.

Resources stretched

Uganda Red Cross’ communications director, Irene Nakasiita, points out that the Ebola outbreak came straight after the COVID-19 pandemic, among other disasters, stretching the organisation’s resources.

‘Looking at the demands and the expectations from the community, it’s really higher than our capacities can accommodate at the moment. 

While we look at securing our own health through giving ourselves more PPE and so other safety measures, we equally have to support the communities and they are looking to us for an option,’ she said.

Assisting Ugandan health authorities

The organisation is at the forefront of evacuating suspected patients from communities and providing what it terms ‘dignified burials’.

‘Until Uganda is declared Ebola-free, we may not promise that this will end during this period or December or January or May or March,’ says Nakasiita, ‘But we just have to keep resource mobilizing so that we are able to bridge the gaps, but the biggest gaps are at community levels.’

As the country remains on high alert, the World Health Organization noted last week that the current outbreak was first detected among a group of highly mobile people, raising fears that the virus could spread to the capital and abroad.

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