Uganda Ebola Virus Disease Preparedness Assessment and Risk Mapping, August - September 2018

  • Public health surveillance
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Background:
Uganda’s proximity to the epicentre of the 10th Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) poses high risk of EVD cross-border transmission. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends EVD preparedness to prevent EVD importation and promote readiness for EVD response. We describe Uganda’s preparedness and risk-mapping to prevent EVD importation and limit spread from cross-border transmission.
Methods:
We conducted interviews and group discussions with key informants using the WHO-consolidated EVD- preparedness checklist to assess district, health-facility, and points of entry (PoEs) preparedness. We focused ques- tions on who, what, when and where to ascertain population characteristics and routes of movement from DRC into Uganda. We developed maps to show high-risk places and population movements from DRC. We computed percentages of accomplished core-capacities.
Results:
We assessed 40 PoEs and > 80 health-facilities for preparedness in 12 high-priority districts. Ten of the 12 high-risk districts along the DRC border scored <50% preparedness in the 11 core-capacity domains. We identified 13 official and 27 unofficial PoEs and >500 places of high-risk for EVD transmission. We identified routes and congregation hubs including origins and destinations of travelers through PoEs to townships, markets, residences, schools, places of worship, health facilities, traditional shrines and workplaces. We developed a national EVD-preparedness and response plan using the assessment findings; and disseminated EVD information, education and communication (IEC) materials in >30 languages spoken in the high-risk districts. We built capacity for EVD surveillance, laboratory testing and treatment through training of health personnel, provision of supplies and construction of treatment units.
Conclusion
We identified gaps in EVD preparedness which were prioritized for capacity strengthening. We recommended maintenance of resources to sustain EVD preparedness at national and district level.

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