Following the declaration by the Uganda Ministry for Health in mid Sept 2022, of the outbreak of the Sudan variant of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), GOAL is working to curb the spread of the disease. It is reported that EVD has infected 142 people to date, resulting in 56 deaths in Uganda.
As part of the response to the EVD outbreak and with the assistance of Irish Aid funding, GOAL Uganda is providing support to the Ministry of Health to train 23 healthcare workers on infection prevention and control (IPC) and case identification in the Kyegegwa district (Western Region of Uganda). This training has equipped the District Rapid Response Team with knowledge and skills to effectively identify, isolate, notify, manage, and refer patients with EVD to a hospital setting.
Overall GOAL’s response to the EVD outbreak is based on the SMART (Social Mobilisation Based on Research and Training) approach. This approach recommends a combination of Community Led Action (CLA), mass media and interaction with local and religious leaders to leverage an empowering community-centred response that can be scaled up for operation on a national scale. GOAL is currently implementing two pillars of the SMART approach, (CLA & mass media) in the Kyegegwa district with a focus on Kyegegwa town council, covering 10 villages.
Speaking about the EVD outbreak and the GOAL response, Janette Macleod, Acting Country Director, GOAL Uganda said “It is well-recognised that early action is key – not only in terms of identifying and tracing EVD cases, but also in order to engage local communities. We are confident in the power of the CLA approach in this regard, an approach which was designed by GOAL during the deadly EVD crisis in West Africa in 2014.”
“CLA helps combat the spread of infectious diseases by helping communities, especially in high-risk neighbourhoods, to develop action plans to recognise, and prevent the spread of EVD through community, households and personal actions. The CLA in Kyegegwa is being complemented with mass media including radio talk shows which offer advice on infection prevention and control including sanitation and hygiene practices” continued Janette Macleod.
GOAL is also basing its response to the EVD outbreak on key learnings from the West African EVD outbreak in 2014 and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, in addition to the EVD preparedness that GOAL Uganda carried out in 2019. To date GOAL has trained 36 community mobilisers and has triggered community action plans in 64 communities with the involvement of 1,536 people. The training of more community mobilisers in on-going and GOAL will continue to support them in facilitating their communities to act against the spread of EVD. Last year, GOAL reached 79+K people through various interventions, with a further 2.4M people reached with COVID-19 messaging through awareness campaigns on radio, posters using the SMART approach.
In addition, GOAL’s Uganda Team is currently exploring options to scale up the SMART approach across a number of districts to support communities in protecting themselves from EVD. This will involve engaging with communities in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, which hosts a high number of refugees and where GOAL previously implemented CLA in 2019 for EVD preparedness. GOAL is coordinating closely with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders to align with national response plans and maximise the impact of efforts to halt the spread of EVD.