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Preventing Ebola in Uganda: Case Study from the Makerere University School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

Lucia Mullen, Steven Ssendagire, Christina Potter, Rhoda Wanyenze, Alex Ario Riolexus, Doreen Tuhebwe, Susan Babirye, Rebecca Nuwematsiko, Jennifer Nuzzo
Date posted:
June 30, 2020
Publication type:
Exemplars in Global Health
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The Kivu Ebola epidemic began on August 1, 2018, when four cases were confirmed in North Kivu Province in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). 1 To date, the epidemic has led to over 3,400 confirmed and suspected cases in the DRC and over 2,200 deaths. Because there is frequent movement from North Kivu across the border into Uganda, including a regular influx of refugees, the Ugandan government and its partners put themselves on high alert and mobilized resources to prevent the importation of cases, detect imported disease quickly, contain the spread of imported disease, and treat sick people appropriately.

In June 2019 the virus reached Uganda, but only four imported cases have been reported as of May 2020 and no in-country transmission has occurred. 2 Uganda has focused on preventing an outbreak and detecting cases. Prevention activities included assembling a multisectoral team and establishing robust coordinating mechanisms, running simulation exercises to assess the country’s readiness, and implementing a prophylactic vaccination effort among frontline workers and contacts of suspected cases. Detection activities included health communications and messaging and cross-border surveillance in collaboration with officials from the DRC.

These accomplishments, despite foundational challenges facing Uganda’s health system, prompted Makerere University School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security to conduct this study, based on an in-depth gray literature review and key informant interviews.

Exemplars in Global Health uses standardized methods to pinpoint countries that outperformed peers in key health outcomes, beyond what would be expected from their economic growth. Guided by global and in-country experts, we also consider geographic diversity, data availability, and research feasibility to select Exemplar candidates. We then conduct further research and analysis to validate our initial assessment. Learn more.



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