In order to stop the spread of Ebola, Uganda and the WHO intend to test two Ebola Sudan virus vaccines.       

To stop the spread of the uncommon strain, Uganda and the World Health Organization intend to test two Ebola Sudan virus vaccines. In five districts of Uganda, the virus has already claimed the lives of 19 people and infected at least 54 others. The WHO’s director-general termed the new epidemic as worrying following talks in Kampala.

In an urgent one-day meeting on Wednesday, Uganda welcomed ministers from 11 nations to coordinate their planning for and reaction to Ebola outbreaks and decide on a strategy for cooperation.

Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, Uganda’s health minister, told reporters following the meeting that the government is anticipating two different vaccinations for the Ebola virus from Sudan that is now spreading in Uganda.

Both vaccines are awaiting regulatory and ethical authorization from the Ugandan government, according to the WHO. The vaccines, which Aceng claims will enter the nation the next week, are currently undergoing clinical studies.

“One, Oxford. Manufactured in the United Kingdom. And the other Sabin. Manufactured in the United States of America. We are getting small doses, but the manufacturers are quickly manufacturing more.”

Uganda reported the Ebola outbreak on September 20. The epicenter is the Mubende district, west of Kampala, with one death reported in Kampala itself.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that although the outbreak is troubling, it is not unexpected. Tedros says the primary focus now is to rapidly contain the outbreak to protect neighboring districts, as well as neighboring countries.

The WHO urged Uganda’s neighbors to increase their readiness to respond rapidly and efficiently, if needed.

Dr. Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, the acting director-general for the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says African countries need to change the way they do things in times of outbreaks.

He said this includes strengthening institutions dedicated to health emergencies, strengthening the health workforce, and local manufacturing, and having action-oriented and respectful partnerships.

WHO Releases Fund for Uganda’

The WHO has released $2 million from its contingency fund to support Uganda’s Health Ministry and an additional $3 million to support readiness in neighboring countries.

Ogwell says such funds need to be prioritized.

“It is not true that we don’t have money,” said Oowell. “And it is not true that African countries are broke. It’s an issue of prioritization of the resources that you have. And then, when partners bring their support, what is it supporting? Is it supporting our priorities or is it supporting the priority of the partner? Then, rationalization of our budgets at the national level will create a situation where the funds for the public sector are going into our priorities.”

The Sudan Ebola virus was first reported in southern Sudan in 1976. Several outbreaks have been reported since then in both Uganda and Sudan. The deadliest outbreak in Uganda was in 2000 and killed more than 200 people.