Fwd Global Health Now: As Ebola Wanes, Second-Guessing Flourishes

9 December, 2022

News item below, with thanks to Global Health Now and a comment from me.


When Ebola broke out in Uganda in September, authorities took great pains to avoid a lockdown - against the recommendations of medical experts aand aid groups, and in sharp contrast to the country’s forceful response to COVID-19, which included 2-year lockdowns, The New York Times reports.

Dozens of deaths later, health officials acknowledge that may have been a big mistake. “We should have done it in a much more aggressive way,” said Henry Kyobe Bosa, a Ministry of Health epidemiologist managing the Ebola response.

The toll:

9 districts affected, including the capital, Kampala

142 confirmed cases and 55 confirmed deaths, plus 22 more deaths likely linked to the outbreak

It wasn’t until mid-October, nearly a month after the first reported case, that the government rolled out a dusk-to-dawn curfew and restricted movement in hard-hit districts.

Why they delayed: Residual “anger, resentment and trauma over the strict Covid measures,” combined with the Ugandan public’s lack of trust in the government - paving the way for misconceptions to mushroom.

What’s next? Now, the outbreak has slowed, with no new infections reported recently. And yesterday, the first doses of Ebola vaccine candidates from the WHO arrived in Uganda, to be used in a clinical trial, Andalou Agency reports - though with no new cases to studyy, a “critical opportunity to advance understanding of the Sudan Ebola strain” might have been missed, according to The New York Times.


COMMENT (NPW): Mistrust in government about public health issues is a growing pheonomenon. What can governments do to restore public trust?

Best wishes, Neil

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, Global Coordinator HIFA, www.hifa.org neil@hifa.org

Global Healthcare Information Network: Working in official relations with WHO