As the world marks the 10th anniversary of the devastating Ebola outbreak in West Africa, public health officials across the continent, spearheaded by the Uganda Ministry of Health, are urging global solidarity to prevent any recurrence of such a catastrophic event on African soil.

Reflecting on the tragedy that unfolded in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, where immense human suffering and profound socioeconomic disruptions occurred, the call for vigilance gains urgency.

Originating in late 2013 but not officially confirmed until months later in 2014, the outbreak swiftly spread from Guinea to neighboring countries, including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Senegal, and Nigeria. Over 28 months, the epidemic claimed 28,652 lives, with 5% of the fatalities being healthcare workers.

Health experts attributed the initial exponential spread of the virus to a sluggish response characterized by delays in detection, forecasting, and preparedness measures in the affected region.

Revealers indicated that it was on March 23, 2014, that the Guinean Health Ministry, in accordance with the International Health Regulations 2005, formally alerted the World Health Organization to the emergence of Ebola virus disease outside central Africa for the first time.

Dr. Henry Kyobe, the Ebola Incident Commander at the Ministry of Health, underscores that the stark inequities, vulnerabilities, and deficiencies exposed by this pandemic and the COVID-19 epidemic four years ago demand collective action to prevent a recurrence of such crises.

“In this initiative led by Uganda, we outline several recommendations, some of which have been previously voiced but merit renewed emphasis to ensure a world where health security is paramount,” he emphasizes.

Key recommendations include securing sustainable and adequate funding for health security, bolstering the establishment of robust national public health agencies, and significantly enhancing investments in preparedness and response capabilities, adaptable for both localized outbreaks and global pandemics.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa spurred the creation of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2016, aimed at enhancing early detection of public health threats, strengthening emergency preparedness, and fostering a coordinated response among member states of the African Union. This initiative has led to the development of the New Public Health Order framework, with 17 African countries now boasting fully functional Public Health Institutes.

Kimera Abdul is a Senior Journalist with Plus News Uganda. He identifies as an adaptable and enthusiastic individual who works to inspire generations. He posses a Diploma and Broadcast journalism and has...

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