Residents of Kampala city have continued to conduct their daily activities, others with no precaution despite the announcement of an outbreak of Ebola in parts of Uganda and in the city itself.
Residents of Kampala city have continued to conduct their routine activities with little worry about the presence of the contagious Ebola disease in its midst or fear of contracting it despite the announcement of an outbreak of Ebola in parts of Uganda and in the city itself.
A few days ago when the disease was confirmed in the country, President Yoweri Museveni issued a public statement asking people to avoid physical contact as precaution in attempts to contain the spread of the disease. In his statement, the president advised that people should avoid sex, shaking hands and crowding in public places.
In addition, the Ministry of Health advised the public to take measures to avert the spread of the disease and to report any suspected patient to the nearest health unit while the World Health Organization has said it does not recommend any travel or trade restrictions to be applied in the country over the outbreak.
However, while some may have heed the advice, many have continued to go about their businesses with little precaution even in crowded public areas. Many areas of public life in the city such as the transport, banking, entertainment and business areas such as Kikuubo and Owino market have continued to be crowded as always doing thriving business. Ricky Mwanguzi, a second-hand clothes vendor at Owino market, told URN that despite the seeming laxity, he takes precaution by avoiding handshakes with his clients and by ensuring that he eats steamy food and drinks boiled water.
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At Buganda Bus Park, there is a crowd as usual with no observable attempt to control the spread of the disease as some people can easily be seen shaking hands and freely mixing in the crowded space. However, some of the bus companies say they have heightened hygiene on their buses to try to protect their clients from catching the disease.
Suwed Rukyalekere, a Driver with Link Transport Company, told URN that they provide items such as water, soap and toilet paper for use by their passengers to boost personal hygiene and limit the chance of catching Ebola. Rukyalekere said they should have added gloves onto the list but regretted that they do not have them.
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In the commercial banks, there are no observable measures put in place to limit the spread of the disease. An official at Centenary bank at Mapeera House said that they procured gloves and disinfectant for their upcountry staff during a previous outbreak of Ebola but said currently there is no measure in place to control the spread of the disease. He explained that the banks also have their washrooms in restricted places making it difficult for their clients who may require washing their hands.
The same laxity can be observed as social gatherings such as night clubs where people mix and squeeze against one another as they enjoy themselves after a hectic day’s work. Alfred Eitro, a manager at 9 degrees, a popular night club in the city told URN that all they have been doing is to maintain a high level of hygiene in their toilets.
Eitro explains that while they have observed a reduction in the number of people visiting the club, they are not sure if it’s due to the confirmed presence of Ebola because he said Muslims were also fasting and therefore staying away from such places.
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However, while sections of the public and some public institutions are displaying laxity about their management of the situation, other are not leaving it to chance. The Uganda police force that is currently engaged with the public either through crowd control or responding to emergencies has equipped their forces with kits for use in case they have to get in physical contact with a member of the public.
Emilan Kayima, a police spokesperson told URN that they are involved in public awareness and awareness creation among the police force. He added that ministry together with the National medical Stores was providing kits such as gloves and masks to the police officers in areas of the disease outbreak.
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