Govt starts Ebola vaccination for UPDF soldiers in DR Congo

A health worker vaccinates a UPDF soldier against Ebola during the launch of an Ebola vaccination exercise for servicemen at Muhooti Barracks in Fort Portal on August 30, 2022. PHOTO/ALEX ASHABA

DR Congo. 

Government targets vaccinating about 10,000 UPDF soldiers involved in a military attack code named “Operation Shujaa” targeting rebel groups.

“The World Health Organization (WHO) provided us with 12,000 doses of Mark Vaccine which protects against Ebola Zaire. We started with soldiers because there is an Ebola outbreak in Beni, DR Congo,” Uganda’s Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said at the launch of the exercise on Tuesday. 

Ms Aceng told journalists that mass vaccination against Ebola will be rolled out as more vaccines arrive.
“We want to ensure that we don’t get any Ebola outbreak in Uganda,” she told journalists during the event at Muhooti Barracks in Fort Portal City.


Minister for Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng (L) looks on as a health worker vaccinates a UPDF soldier against Ebola during the launch of an Ebola vaccination exercise for servicemen at Muhooti Barracks in Fort Portal on August 30, 2022. PHOTO/ALEX ASHABA
UPDF medical personnel have been equipped with the laboratory and all equipment to test suspected cases while health authorities intensified surveillance in border districts of Kasese, Bundibugyo, Ntoroko, Kanungu, Kisoro, and others facing an Ebola risk.

The WHO indicates that Uganda has had at least four outbreaks of the deadly disease in 2000, 2014, 2017, and 2018. The biggest and most deadly outbreak was in 2000, when e425 Ebola cases and 224 deaths were registered.

“It’s our strategy as WHO to protect frontline workers. We are working to ensure that we get more vaccines from to vaccinate more frontline workers,” WHO country representative to Uganda, Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam noted.

The UPDF has so far trained 32 medical personnel and 15 personnel in case management who will participate in the vaccination exercise.

The vaccination exercise is themed “Protecting the fighting forces health through provision of tested preventive public health intervention.”

On November 30, 2022, UPDF and Congolese FARDC soldiers started a joint operation to eliminate ADF rebels from eastern DR Congo.

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