Fellow Countrymen, Country Women, and Foreign Residents in Uganda,
It is 89 days today since the outbreak of Ebola was declared in Mubende District and we have been responding to contain this outbreak. It is also 63 days since Mubende and Kassanda have been under restricted movements.
On 27th November 2022, I directed H.E the Vice President to extend the 21-day period of restricted movement in Kasanda and Mubende districts as one of the main measures in the control of Ebola outbreak. This was the second time I extended these restrictions. These measures have slowed down transmission in the two districts, protected the greater Kampala Metropolitan Area and the rest of the country. This has preserved our economy that had suffered as a result of the protracted COVID-19 pandemic, and minimized mortality which would have been much more had the virus spread further.
As I told you at the beginning of this outbreak, Ebola disease unlike coronavirus, is very easy to deal with since the methods of spread are through contact with body fluids and infected clothing, and hands are the main vehicle of transmission. This is the reason why I directed Ugandans to stop shaking hands and hugging.
Though we have registered great success in the containment of this epidemic, I have been told that we still have 24 days to complete the 42-days which are two incubation cycles, to give us reassurance that the outbreak is under control.
So far, Mubende district has not registered any confirmed case for 34 days and neither has Kassanda for 37 days.
The 3600 trained healthcare workers of different categories will remain on standby. With concerted efforts and through a whole of society approach, we managed to stop further transmission in Kagadi, Bunyangabu, Kyegegwa, Masaka, Jinja, Wakiso and Kampala districts.
To date, there is a total of 142 confirmed cases, 56 deaths and 86 recoveries with no more contacts under follow-up. The most affected district was Mubende, which was also the initial epicenter district of this outbreak, with 66 cases, and 29 deaths. This was followed by Kassanda district with 49 cases and 21 deaths. Kampala with 18 cases and three (03) deaths, Kyegegwa with three (03) cases and zero death, Jinja district with one (1) case and one (1) death. There are currently no cases on admission.
It is against this background that I am lifting all movement restrictions and curfew in Mubende and Kassanda districts with immediate effect, today 17th December 2022.
The lifting of these restrictions is based on the fact that currently, there is no transmission, no contact under follow-up, no patients in the isolation facilities, and we are progressing well with the count down. However, this doesn’t mean that the outbreak has ended, we remain on high alert with intense surveillance across the country.
In addition to this, all the response structures developed over the past 3 months will remain in place. These include:
The 353 bed capacity treatment units in Mubende, Madudu, Mulago and Entebbe.
The Ebola testing mobile laboratory in Mubende district
The 3600 trained healthcare workers of different categories will remain on standby.
The District and Community Task Forces should remain functional.
The village health teams in the communities of Mubende and Kassanda districts should continue to sensitize their communities about prevention, and identification of individuals with signs and symptoms.
Mortality surveillance (testing of all dead bodies for Ebola) in Kassanda, Mubende Masaka, Jinja, and Kampala districts should continue. This will ensure that no unknown transmission chains are missed.
The Ministry of Health should continue to bury all dead bodies in Mubende and Kassanda districts until after the 42-day count down.
The Ministry of Health should continue to monitor the Ebola survivors, and support them to re-integrate in the community.
I have also been informed that there is an ongoing malaria upsurge in the two districts of Mubende and Kassanda. Malaria symptoms resemble those of Ebola. To avoid confusion and possibility of missing an Ebola Case, I direct the Ministry of Health to carry out door-to-door mass drug administration of anti-malarials (malaria chemoprevention) for all age-groups. In addition, mosquito nets should be provided to these communities. These two measures are intended to ensure a reduction of malaria infections in the area.
Furthermore, I direct the Ministry of Health to intensify malaria interventions across the country to reduce the burden.
Lastly, I want to thank all Ugandans for adhering to my advice and cooperating with Ministry of Health. Please remain vigilant.
Thank you for listening to me.
For God and my Country
Gen (RTD) Yoweri K. Museveni
17th December 2022