UPDF soldiers in DR Congo

The Ugandan troops in eastern DR Congo will be vaccinated against Ebola after reports of the disease outbreak were reported in Mbadaka, about 2,000km away from where the Ugandans are operating.

But the UPDF Deputy Director Public Health and Coordinator Contingency plan against Ebola Viral Disease Lt Col Dr Francis Xavier Bakehena said the lives of the troops operating in Eastern DRC are safe.

“Currently, there are reports of an Ebola outbreak in DRC 2000kms (Mbadaka Health risk zone) away from where our troops are operating. Although authorities in DRC have declared the country Ebola free, we do not want to take chances. That is why we have put in place contingent measures/ stop gaps such as surveillance systems, medical personnel case management and rapid response teams training,” Dr Bakehena.

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Lt Col Bakehena who was speaking at the ceremony of UPDF Mountain Division Medical Personnel Rapid Response Team training on Ebola Case Management held at Kalya Courts in Fortportal city said soldiers operating on the borderline with DR Congo will also be vaccinated.

“We intend to vaccinate all our troops operating in DRC and those at the borderline right from West Nile up to Kisoro. We have also put our soldiers on alert, especially medics, to report anybody with signs of Ebola so that we immediately handle the case without reporting to civilian facilities,”  Dr Bakehena.

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The soldiers were trained on how to safeguard themselves in case Ebola breaks out in the eastern part of the country where they are fighting the rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces.

 “As UPDF Directorate of Public Health in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and World Health Organization we have put in place safeguard contingency measures against our soldiers operating in DRC contracting Ebola viral disease,” Lt Col Dr Bakehena.

According to Lt Col Bakehena, the target is Ebola control, but also other health hazards such as monkeypox, Marburg and other Hemorrhagic fevers that are prevalent in DRC are being monitored.

The five-day training workshop of 32 UPDF Medical personnel from Mountain Division was aimed at creating a Rapid Response Team (RRT) in surveillance, Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) and Case Management.