Thursday, November 1, 2012

Funding, health system constraints impede Marburg virus control

October 31, 2012 


On 31 October, Ugandan legislators called for the suspensions of public gatherings, celebrations and meetings in Marburg-affected districts.
On 29 October, the health ministry dispatched a team of experts to the southwestern region to help boost local health workers’ efforts to contain the spread of the disease. It has also set up field diagnostic laboratory at Kabale Referral Hospital and established temporary isolation facilities and wards in Mbarara, Ibanda, Kabarole, Rukungiri and Ibanda to accommodate suspected and confirmed cases.
But a severe shortage of trained health workers has affected efforts to contain the disease; just 63 percent health worker positions in the country’s public health sector are filled.
“The health workers are overwhelmed and stretched with the outbreak. We are struggling to contain it. The facilities are overstretched,” Patrick Tusiime, the Kabale District Health Officer, told IRIN.
Matters have been further complicated by an ongoing strike by an estimated 150 health workers at Mbarara Referral Hospital – the largest referral facility in the region – who laid down their tools on’ October over unpaid salaries.

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