Opposition uses Ebola outbreak for political ends


KAMPALA, Uganda (eTN) – The present Ebola outbreak, suspected to have been brought into Uganda by infected persons from the Democratic Republic of Congo seeking treatment or escaping their own government perpetrated violence in the East of the jungle nation, is now being misused by the Ugandan political opposition for their own ends.

The opposition has seriously suggested that the Ugandan government held back the information to allow for a smooth Commonwealth Summit to take place. It was, however, established by this correspondent that the Center for Disease Control (DCD) in Atlanta only confirmed an outbreak on towards the end of November, i.e. after the summit ended, at which stage a combined World Health Organization (WHO), CDC and Ugandan Ministry of Health containment group was dispatched to the affected area along the Congo border in one of the remotest parts of Western Uganda.

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Reports, probably also peddled by the same characters, that the disease has spread into other parts of the country, were also dismissed by the health team tasked with the containment exercise, who confirmed that only the immediate border area was affected. Such irresponsible propaganda, though not unexpected from these quarters, is, therefore, to be condemned in the sharpest possible way and the perpetrators should be made to answer charges in court.

In the meantime, more equipment was flown into the country to effectively combat and contain the disease, as done a few months ago with a Marburg fever outbreak. There seems no level low enough for a hapless opposition in this country to stoop lower still, trying to exploit this tragic situation for their own political ends.

The Uganda government has in the meantime mobilized internal funds to the tune of about 7 billion Uganda shillings (approximately US$4.1 million) as emergency allocation to the health sector besides material support from development partners and the WHO, who have also stepped up their assistance levels. President Museveni has also ordered an official enquiry to establish the true origins of the disease, after suspicions were raised that the outbreak originated from across the border in Congo DR, where earlier in the year a major outbreak was reported in the more central part of the jungle nation.

Would be visitors to the country can obtain updated information from their safari and tour operators, the Association of Uganda Tour Operators ([email protected]) or the Uganda Tourist Board/Tourism Uganda via their website www.visituganda.com or www.health.go.ug