Survivor Shares Experience as Uganda is Declared Ebola-free

3784 Views Kibaale, Uganda

In short
Midwife Gloria Tumwijuke, a health worker at St. Ambrose Health Center in Kagadi town council represented the survivors. With tears rolling down her cheeks, Tumwijuke narrated how she unknowingly contracted the disease from one Doreen Nantongo, a mother who had experienced an inevitable abortion at the health facility in July.

Tears rolled down the faces of people that turned up for a function to declare Uganda Ebola free in Kagadi, Kibaale district.
 
 The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday declared the country Ebola-free, almost three months after the latest outbreak in July.
 
Some of the survivors who attended the function in Kagadi Town Council shared their experiences regarding the deadly disease.

It was about 3’oclock when the master of ceremonies announced that next on the agenda was testimonies of the few lucky ones that survived the deadly haemorrhagic virus. Six survivors, among them two health workers, took to the floor to tell their story. Everyone around scampered to have a glimpse of the once feared Ebola patients now back to normal life.

Midwife Gloria Tumwijuke, a health worker at St. Ambrose Health Center in Kagadi town council represented the survivors. With tears rolling down her cheeks, Tumwijuke narrated how she unknowingly contracted the disease from one Doreen Nantongo, a mother who had experienced an inevitable abortion at the health facility in July.

//Cue in: I received a mother…
Cue out: ….I must die.”//

The midwife attributed her survival to God’s will describing the disease as a deadly one. Tumwijuke adds that although she still feels week, she is now stable. Aware that as health workers such situations may be unavoidable, she challenged colleagues to always be keen as they handle patients with strange ailments to avoid a scenario like the one she faced.

//Cue in: “I knew really…
Cue out: ….she died.”//

Other survivors included Mary Asaba, a nurse at Muhorro Health Center, Mary Nyakato Isoke, a member of the Isoke family that was almost swept away by the disease, Wabyona Katusabe and Alice Ngonzi among others.

Reacting to reports that these survivors are still being stigmatized in their communities, Joachim Saweka, the WHO country representative publicly announced that the six had totally healed and asked family and community members to interact with them as usual.

Although he declared the country free of Ebola after the end of the 42 days without any new cases reported, Saweka challenged the country to invest more in raising the capacity of health workers in the prompt identification and detection of such ailments to avoid falling victims.

//Cue in: “Our health workers…
Cue out: … to be there.”//

Sarah Opendi Acheng, state minister designate for primary healthcare officiated at the function. Opendi, who is also Tororo Woman MP, attributed the successful Ebola fight to the collaboration between government and other development partners.

The minister said a cumulative figure of 60 cases was admitted and 104 specimens were taken to the National Virus Research Institute for confirmation. Of the 11 confirmed Ebola cases only five healed while 423 contacts were monitored and discharged. Seventeen people including a health worker Clare Muhumuza, died of Ebola related signs.

The Ebola outbreak was confirmed in Kibaale district at the end of July after the death of several people majority of them from one family.