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Health Ministry warns against use of Rapid Diagnostic Tests for Ebola

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Health Ministry warns against use of Rapid Diagnostic Tests for Ebola

The Ministry of Health has warned private health facilities against the use of unauthorized Ebola rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) which are circulating on the market.

The warning has been sounded by Dr Henry G. Mwebesa the Director General Health Services.

“This practice is illegal and dangerous because it exposes the general public and health workers to the risk of infection. World Health Organization has never approved the use of RDTs for confirmation of Ebola disease,” says Dr Mwebesa.

He noted that PCR is the only authorized testing method and is being done in government laboratories free of charge at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), and the Central Public Health Laboratories (CPHL) mobile lab in Mubende Regional Referral Hospital.

Dr Mwebesa further informed the general public that Ebola testing and patient management are restricted to designated government facilities above as of now.

“This is because of the high risk posed by a highly infectious virus with a high death rate. The restriction on testing and management of Ebola cases is due to the requirement of specialized safety equipment and containment measures that are not available in private health facilities,” he added.

According to the Director General, this also requires well-trained experts with appropriate protective gear and SOPs. He encouraged the general public and private health facilities to report any Ebola suspect to nearby public health facilities or contact the emergency toll-free line 0800100066.

“This will allow MoH to isolate, test and treat confirmed cases and trace their contacts in order to prevent further transmission of the Ebola virus.”

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