Amuru district has intensified mandatory screening measures for travelers entering Uganda through the Elegu border point from South Sudan due to a recent cholera outbreak.
The decision follows the confirmation of four cases of cholera among Sudanese asylum seekers who crossed into Uganda via Elegu on January 26. These individuals, part of a group fleeing conflict in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, were among 14 asylum seekers. Four confirmed cases and nine contacts were subsequently hospitalized at Nyumanzi Health Center III in Adjumani district.
Louis Patrick Lamot, the port health focal point person at Elegu border, highlighted the heightened vigilance at the border due to the influx of asylum seekers from Sudan and South Sudan. Despite routine screenings, Lamot emphasized the necessity of increased vigilance, with approximately 50-100 asylum seekers screened daily for various ailments.
“We don’t have enough personnel to help in the screening and fight against cholera. At the moment we are improvising with the few staff, but we are also glad some partners are helping us,” said Dr. Alfred Okello, the Amuru district health officer (DHO), acknowledging the manpower challenges faced in the screening efforts.
To bolster testing capabilities, 100 consignments of rapid diagnostic test (RDT) kits have been received at the border point, with an additional 100 test kits disbursed to the Adjumani district health department by the Ministry of Health. Despite manpower shortages, efforts are underway to sensitize the community on good hygiene practices to combat cholera.
The reactivation of the task force that handled the COVID-19 pandemic aims to enhance sensitization and monitoring efforts, according to Apollo Kagwa Okello, secretary for health in Amuru district local government.
Cholera, an acute diarrheal infection, poses a significant public health concern, with past outbreaks in Amuru district claiming lives and infecting numerous individuals. The World Health Organization (WHO) identifies vibrio cholerae bacteria as the causative agent, primarily transmitted through contaminated food or water