Media CenterImmediate Action Key as First Ebola Cases Confirmed in Uganda

Laura Elizabeth Pohl for CRS

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Catholic Relief Services
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Nikki Gamer
Catholic Relief Services
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CRS is closely monitoring the situation on the ground as Ebola spreads to Uganda

Kampala, UGANDA, June 12, 2019 – Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is coordinating closely with government authorities and local partners following the first confirmed cases of Ebola in Uganda since the outbreak began in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). 

According to the Uganda Ministry of Health, a five-year-old child who had traveled from the DRC back to the Kasese District of Western Uganda was its first confirmed case. That child has since passed away. According to reports, the number of suspected Ebola cases in Uganda has jumped to seven, which includes two relatives of the boy who died.

Since the Ebola outbreak hit the DRC about a year ago, more than 2,000 cases have been reported. Of that number, approximately 1,300 people died of the disease. CRS implements programming with local partners in the Kasese District of Uganda as well as in surrounding districts. CRS also implements programming in the DRC.

“Everyone has been preparing for this scenario,” said CRS Uganda Country Representative Niek De Goeij. “We consider even one case a very serious development. But while Ebola is a frightening disease, we’ve seen almost a year of critical preparedness efforts on the part of the Ugandan government, and now immediate action by the Ministry of Health and international partners, to quickly contain these cases so far while avoiding its spread.”

The CRS Uganda country program is closely monitoring the situation on the ground and is prepared to respond accordingly.

“For now, CRS will focus on making sure its partners are safe and can continue their other important work in this new reality,” De Goeij said.

CRS has years of experience responding to Ebola. During the 2014-2016 outbreak in West Africa, CRS capitalized on its long history in the region, and its vast Church network, to assist people in the affected countries through an array of programming, including providing safe and dignified burials; public awareness and education activities; emergency food distributions; infectious disease prevention and control; and health system strengthening. However, despite the international community’s best efforts, the West Africa outbreak ended with more than 28,000 confirmed cases and more than 11,000 deaths.

“During an Ebola outbreak, information and understanding people’s perception about the virus is just as important as medicine or a vaccine,” said Suzanne Van Hulle, a member of CRS’ health team who worked on the agency’s West Africa response. “Local community leaders play a critical role in educating people around Ebola and how to prevent both acquiring the virus and ongoing transmission.”  

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Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding.  For more information, visit www.crs.org or www.crsespanol.org and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media in English at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube; and in Spanish at: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Nikki Gamer

Media Relations Manager

Nikki Gamer
June 12, 2019

Based in Baltimore, MD

Nikki is the Media Relations Manager for CRS and connects journalists to regional stories and sources related to the agency’s life-saving development work. Previously, Nikki worked as the Communications Officer for the Middle East, Europe, and Central Asia. She has covered CRS’ response to the Syrian refugee crisis and the mass displacement of...More