Fellow Countrymen, Countrywomen and Foreign Residents in Uganda,
I have come back to talk to you about the Ebola outbreak that we have in the districts of Mubende, Kyegegwa, Kassanda, Kagadi and Bunyangabu.
Today, 12th October, 2022 marks the 23rd day since we declared an Ebola outbreak and I have been informed that there are 54 total confirmed cases of Ebola and 19 deaths. 20 people have recovered including 5 health workers who were discharged yesterday from Entebbe Isolation facility who were brought from Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital.
Below is the Table showing distribution of EVD cases by district and sub-county (N=54) as of 12th October, 2022
|District||Sub-County||Confirmed Cases||Confirmed Deaths|
You will recall, that in my last statement, I told you about the categorization of districts according to the risk of Ebola spread in the country.
Category 1 (Very high risk) – Mubende, Kassanda, Kyegegwa, Kagadi and Bunyangabu.
Category 2 (High Risk) – 20 districts surrounding Mubende plus Kampala and Wakiso. Kampala and Wakiso are included in this category because of population movement, trade and social services.
Category 3 (Moderate Risk) – Rest of the country
As a result of seeking social services as highlighted in Category 2, I have been told by Ministry of Health that a 45 year old male called Twagiira Yezu Ndahiiro aka Kakono who was a known contact under follow up escaped from his home in Kanseera Village, Kirwanyi Parish, Kiruuma Sub-county, Mubende District and travelled to Luweero District to seek treatment from a traditional healer. Thereafter, he was taken to Kiruddu National Referral Hospital in Kampala at 5:00pm, on 6th October, 2022 and died at 3:00am on 7th October, 2022.
Twagiira was a previously listed contact to his brother, Nzairwa Cleophas, an 18 year old, who died during a surgical procedure on 18th September, 2022, at Mubende Hospital. It is this Nzairwa Cleophas who exposed our 6 health workers to Ebola infection, 2 of whom died.
On 23rd September, 2022, Twagiira was listed as a contact by Ministry of Health surveillance teams and was being followed up but he became elusive and disappeared from his residence. It is reported that on 3rd October, 2022, his condition deteriorated and was taken by his family to a traditional healer in Luweero district. However, he did not improve. Thereafter, on 6th October, 2022, with the help of his wife, Mutoni and his other brother, Taata Juya, who are residents of Busega and Nateete respectively, he was moved to Kiruddu Hospital for further management. While in Kiruddu hospital, Twagiira gave wrong names and address to divert the health workers’ attention from associating him with the ongoing Ebola outbreak in Mubende. The health workers at Kiruddu suspected him to have liver/kidney problems and peptic ulcers. Because of this, the health workers used protective wear while attending to him. He died 10 hours later. The relatives requested for his body which they transported on top of a taxi to his village in Kanseera, Mubende District, the same morning. The DISO, DPC and Village Chairman made efforts to intercept the commuter taxi that carried the body but failed to locate it. However, they were able to intervene to have a supervised burial conducted by the burial teams in Mubende.
A sample from the deceased was taken off by the burial team, tested the same day and returned positive for Ebola.
On the 10th October 2022, early in the morning, the LC III Chairperson of Kiruuma Sub-County, Ahimbisibwe Stephen called the surveillance and security officers to inform them that he and the LC I of Kanseera Village, Mr. Bangirana and the entire community had surrounded the family of the deceased and wanted intervention of the health workers.
Immediately, action was taken by the District leaders and health workers and 15 contacts were picked from 3 homes and taken for institutional quarantine in Madudu for close observation. However, 3 escaped before they could be picked for quarantine and are being searched for by security assisted by their relatives in quarantine. The institutional quarantine is near the Madudu HC III Isolation facility.
Twagiira and Nzairwa belong to an extended family living in three homesteads in Kyamuhingi cell in Kanseera village, Mubende District. They moved from DRC several years ago and settled in Mubende District.
I am told, that this same family recently on 1st October, 2022, hijacked a dead body of a confirmed EVD case and performed traditional burial rituals, in total disregard to the SOPs for managing dead bodies of confirmed cases. This same family was also hiding a confirmed Ebola case called Katushabe Emmanuel, 49-year-old male who died on 10th October 2022, shortly before they were rounded off.
The village where this family stays has so far lost 10 people to Ebola.
The behavior exhibited by this family of refusing follow up, running away to look for treatment at the witch doctors’ shrines, telling lies and hijacking dead bodies of Ebola cases for rituals poses a great risk of spreading Ebola to the communities and the surrounding districts. We cannot allow this to go on because it puts the lives of all Ugandans at risk and disrupts normal activities in the area and the entire country.
I, therefore, want to direct as follows:
- This family MUST cooperate with the district officials and health workers. They should stop moving around seeking treatment from witch doctors. I am happy that majority are under quarantine. Those who ran away should come back for close observation so that if they fall sick, treatment can be started early. Those who are in hiding should come out immediately and report to the health workers for proper follow up.
- The communities in the affected districts should understand that Ebola disease is deadly and spreads through contact with someone who has symptoms. When you see somebody with symptoms or if you develop symptoms, call the health workers to take you to the health facility in their ambulances. Do not jump on a boda boda or a taxi because you will spread the infection to the ones transporting you.
The symptoms of Ebola include:
- sudden onset of fever
- general weakness
- chest pain
- pain on swallowing
- unexplained bleeding from any part of the body opening. E.g. ears, nose, mouth, eyes, anus.
- The health workers MUST use appropriate protective wear (gloves, aprons, masks) whenever they are examining patients. PLEASE PROTECT YOURSELF.
- The witch doctors, traditional healers and herbalists should not accept sick people in your shrines or places of treatment. Advise them to call health workers for safe transfer to hospitals.
- Religious leaders should not accept sick people with symptoms of Ebola who come seeking for healing prayers because when you touch them, you will contract Ebola. Advise them to call health workers for safe transfer to hospitals.
- Boda boda riders should be vigilant and not carry sick people with signs and symptoms of Ebola. Advise them to call for an ambulance.
- The Security supporting the response teams in the districts must be very vigilant and ensure no Ebola patients in treatment centers or contacts in the quarantine facility escape. In addition, they should dress up in protective wear and arrest contacts who refuse to be taken to isolation.
There has been a lot of rumors and anxiety about confirmed cases of Ebola in Kampala City, specifically Kiruddu Hospital. I would like to inform the general public that there is no confirmed case of Ebola in Kampala City.
As I already indicated to you above, a confirmed case was admitted at Kiruddu Hospital from Mubende and died. Twenty Four people have been listed as contacts and are under quarantine. This event shows you the possibility of Ebola erupting in Kampala if we are not vigilant and people remain defiant to medical advice.
In addition, because of the current epidemic, there are so many people reporting signs and symptoms similar to Ebola within Kampala and Wakiso.
Several such alert cases have been tested and the results have turned out to be negative. The Ministry of Health teams will continue to investigate any such cases and inform the public accordingly.
In conclusion, countrymen, countrywomen, I would like to appeal to you to remain calm and follow guidance from the health workers. Our country has the capacity to control this epidemic. Government is doing everything possible to ensure your safety.
I thank you and wish you well.
Yoweri K. Museveni (Gen Rtd)
P R E S I D E N T
12th October 2022