As some of you may have heard, there has recently been an ebola outbreak in Western Uganda. Ebola is a serious and often deadly virus that was first classified in 1976. Uganda has had a handful of small ebola outbreaks since the disease was identified in 1976.
As often happens, the media has sensationalized this story quite a bit, and we received several messages from friends asking if we are ok. This outbreak carries almost no risk for our family, since the outbreak has been contained to one area of Uganda (Kibaale, about 4 hours from Kampala) and the virus is spread through the exchange of bodily fluids, which means one has to come into very close contact with an infected person in order to get the virus. At this point, 16 people have died (9 of them from the same household), a few more who have the virus are being treated in isolation, and hundreds others are being monitored.
We have a partner organization in this area that we are working with called World Voices. We have just approved their proposal for an emergency response to help support the ebola effort. The project includes food for the patients in isolation (who recently rioted because there was not enough food for them), transportation and coordination for the Ebola Task force, and public education efforts. At this point, the response on the ground appears to be effective in stopping the spread of ebola, and the Ministry of Health has declared that the situation is “under control”.
We had a tragedy in our program about two weeks ago as one of our staff unexpectedly lost his one year old son to dehydration caused by a bacterial infection. The family is devastated and we ask that you keep David, Winnie, and their 3 year old son Meshack in your prayers as they struggle with this loss. Muigai and another MCC staff member were the first to arrive at the clinic just after the boy passed away, and the whole office has been very shaken up and saddened by this loss.
Several friends have asked what exactly our job with MCC entails, and after 6 weeks I think I finally have a pretty good idea of what we are supposed to be doing! In the next few blog posts I will give some details about what we are doing here in Kampala.