By Timothy Sibasi
Danger in hurry! The Minister of Health in Uganda has revealed that over the last 10 months of preparedness in the fight against the hemorrhagic Ebola fever plaguing the country, no funds have been allocated by the line ministry of finance to the health sector to contain the virus.
Apparently the fight to contain the wield fire spreading Ebola virus in Uganda is at the mercy of development partners who for the last 10 months mobilized US$8.6 million in the fight and now minister Ruth Aceng says the resources have been depleted as health workers deployed at high risk border points go four months without pay though remain confident about the pay.
For the last two weeks, the ministry of health in Uganda has been locked in a boxy fight to contain the hemorrhagic Ebola fever that struck the far western District of Kasese bordering the Uganda Congo border of Mpondwe.
However in her brief to Parliament, Health Minister Ruth Aceng slammed Parliament with shocking revelations of no funds have ever been allocated to the sector in the fight to combat the dreaded Ebola
“Managing and controlling Ebola is extremely expensive unfortunately for me the Ministry of Finance has never given me money to respond to Ebola never.” Says Minister Ruth Oceng
Aceng reveals that the Uganda government has absolutely abdicated its responsibility to partners protect citizens against the hemorrhagic Ebola virus. The development partners that have heavily shouldered the cost of fighting Ebola include USAID, UKAid and the World Health Organization among others.
“From the 10 months of preparedness I mobilized money from partners who were very willing to support and mobilized up to US$ 8.6 million and that is what we have been using in our preparedness as well as maintaining our health workers at all the borders all these 10 months.” Say Dr. Ruth Aceng
Minister Aceng claims that apparently the US$8.6 million that had been raised by development partners over the last 10 months of preparedness have been depleted and the sector now is struggling to contain the hemorrhagic Ebola fever, “We’re now in a response mode, I don’t have any shilling. It’s only partners who are catering for people at the borders.”
In the efforts to contains the Ebola hemorrhagic fever, the Uganda government has heavily deployed its military personals to back up the inadequate numbers of health workers along the high at risk porous border points with the DRC in the surveillance and screening exercise of cross border movements, but the diversion of the UPDF in this call of duty is also not budgeted for.
“The UPDF has never been facilitated to stay at the border.” Minister Aceng noted
In her clarion call, Dr. Aceng revealed a possible likelihood of health workers deployed along the borders laying down their tools due to lack of political will to pay their salaries they have been demanding for the last four months.
“The health workers at the borders have now gone unpaid for four months but, there still there at the borders.” She revealed.
Despite of the delayed salary payments for health workers operating in high risk Ebola mapped areas, engagements are underway again from development partners to extend another olive hand in addressing the spat.
“And I have been talking to partners and some of them have started remobilizing resources from within to support us honorable members Ebola kills, when you hear the word Ebola means death and we need to respond urgently but also the availability of resources is a motivation to the response. When the resources are not there it extremely becomes so difficult.” Say minister Aceng
With the increasing scare of Ebola fever in the far western districts of Uganda, the Uganda government squarely puts the blame of the reluctance of the health sector in the Congo to sensitize her people about the reality on the Ebola hemorrhagic fever.
“The challenge we’re having with the DRC is that they don’t believe there’s Ebola. They think it was a political making but also they think it’s a myth few of them are now beginning appreciating after riding over 1500 deaths have happened, Ebola exists we should not mix Ebola with politics we should rise up and fight Ebola whenever it strikes our country.” Aceng noted