How COVID-19 SOPs have set the pace for curbing Ebola outbreak in Uganda

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How COVID-19 SOPs set the pace for curbing Ebola outbreak in Uganda

The African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) joined stakeholders in the private health sector at the East African Health Federation Conference to share sectoral experiences in enhancing the private sector capacity to combat the growing health demands.

The conference was organised at the Mestil hotel on September 29, 2022 under the sponsorship of USAID Strategic Investment Activity which provided investment and financing opportunities for private health facilities looking for funding.

The Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health, Diana Atwine, while addressing the attendee, said that there is a need to be deliberate in establishing "resilient systems for evolving Health Challenges In Africa. Health Care is not a monopoly, we are all responsible".

Addressing the lessons that Africa has learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic, Githinji Gitahi, the Group CEO, Amref Health Africa and member of the AMREF Flying Doctors, said that the health sector needs to evolve alongside the needs of the people.

He mentioned that one of the good things to come out of the pandemic was the collaboration between African countries, unlike any ever witnessed on the continent, to create region-based solutions to safeguard the populations.

The African Union, which was established in 2002, remained an idea talked about but never practiced until the virus "threatened to end life as we knew it". Prior to the pandemic, African countries had batled outbreaks such as Yellow Fever, Cholera, and the recent Ebola outbreak, separately.

However, through the partnerships between the new and independent Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), and the World Health Organization Africa Regional Office (WHO AFRO), there has been improvement in the continent's immunity against public health threats through collaborative responses.

"We have come a long way from attempting to singly tackle health challenges. Now, African countries are sharing knowledge across borders and leveraging the power of regional partnerships to prevent future disease outbreaks and enhance access to much-needed public health services. Call it political maturity, or recognition of the urgency of the situation we find ourselves in, the success of Africa’s collaborative response to the pandemic has saved – and will continue to save – millions of lives," he said.

AMREF recently launched the Hygiene Behavioural Change Coalition (HBCC) in the districts of Kampala and Wakiso to boost preventative and control measures for the COVID-19 virus.

Coincidentally, the Ebola outbreak recently hit districts Mubende and Kyegegwa, during the on-going campaign, which prompted the organisation to redirect COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) to help curb the Ebola virus.

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