Ebola viral hemorrhagic disease outbreak in West Africa- lessons from Uganda

Afr Health Sci. 2014 Sep;14(3):495-501. doi: 10.4314/ahs.v14i3.1.


Background: There has been a rapid spread of Ebola Viral Hemorrhagic disease in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since March 2014. Since this is the first time of a major Ebola outbreak in West Africa; it is possible there is lack of understanding of the epidemic in the communities, lack of experience among the health workers to manage the cases and limited capacities for rapid response. The main objective of this article is to share Uganda's experience in controlling similar Ebola outbreaks and to suggest some lessons that could inform the control of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Methods: The article is based on published papers, reports of previous Ebola outbreaks, response plans and experiences of individuals who have participated in the control of Ebola epidemics in Uganda. Lessons learnt: The success in the control of Ebola epidemics in Uganda has been due to high political support, effective coordination through national and district task forces. In addition there has been active surveillance, strong community mobilization using village health teams and other community resources persons, an efficient laboratory system that has capacity to provide timely results. These have coupled with effective case management and infection control and the involvement of development partners who commit resources with shared responsibility.

Conclusion: Several factors have contributed to the successful quick containment of Ebola outbreaks in Uganda. West African countries experiencing Ebola outbreaks could draw some lessons from the Uganda experience and adapt them to contain the Ebola epidemic.

Keywords: Ebola; Uganda; West Africa; lessons; viral hemorrhagic fever.

MeSH terms

  • Africa, Western / epidemiology
  • Communicable Disease Control / methods*
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Ebolavirus / isolation & purification*
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / epidemiology*
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / prevention & control
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / virology
  • Humans
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Public Health Practice*
  • Uganda / epidemiology