A father holds his 5-year-old daughter as she gets the Ebola trial vaccine in Kasese district Uganda, June 16, 2019. (H. Athumani for VOA)
A father holds his 5-year-old daughter as she gets the Ebola trial vaccine in Kasese district Uganda, June 16, 2019. (H. Athumani for VOA)

KASESE, UGANDA - Health officials in Uganda have mobilized against Ebola after it spread across the border from the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Frontline workers are risking their lives to stop the deadly virus, which has killed 1,400 people in the DRC and two in Uganda.

Ugandan health worker Masereka Robinson makes daily visits on foot to educate families in Kisinga subcounty about Ebola, including the family that brought the deadly virus into Uganda.

The family's visit to an infected relative in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo cost them a child and a grandmother.

Ugandan health workers are vaccinating those who come in contact with Ebola, including themselves, with the help of the World Health Organization.

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Ebola Slows Down Uganda-DRC Border Trade

Benjamin Sensasi, the WHO Health Promotions and Communications Officer, said with the outbreak, "we are again giving the vaccine to health workers, especially those who might have missed last time."

"So, we are giving them the vaccine and any other frontline health worker.," he added. "Not necessarily a medical worker, but anybody involved in Ebola work. For instance, people at the screening at the border, Red Cross volunteers, the village health teams."

Uganda has vaccinated close to 5,000 health workers.

Members of Kirembo village are prepared for the Ebola trial vaccination in Kasese district, Uganda, June 16, 2019. (H. Athumani for VOA)

But while hospitals and testing and treatment centers are prepared to fight Ebola, Robinson Masereka a health worker in Kisinga subcounty says at the village level, they lack needed medical supplies.

"And, at the facility, of course, there are no gloves, we have no masks, to make sure that also, we are protected," he said.

Geoffrey Mbusa, Village Health Team coordinator at Kagando Parish, said  they are working overtime to try to control the movement of villagers suspected of having contact with Ebola in an already-fearful community along the border.

"You should not have the necessary movements of either visiting other people," he said. "And at the moment we have told them that even other relatives of theirs, they should not be coming to visit them till the 21 days when we shall say, at least you are now safe."

Health workers set up an isolation unit at Bwera Hospital where two nurses who came in contact with the infected family are being monitored.

Just across the border, health workers in the DRC are battling the second worst Ebola outbreak on record, which has infected more than 2,000 people, and killing two thirds of patients.

Health workers in Uganda hope the vaccinations and stepped-up screening efforts will be enough to prevent the virus from spreading further.