September 16, 2019
Secretary Azar Meets with Ugandan Minister of Health, Tours Public Health Emergency Response Sites
KAMPALA, UGANDA—Today, September 16, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, joined by other senior U.S. health officials, met with the Ugandan Minister of Health Jane Aceng and toured key public health response centers. Uganda borders the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history is now occurring, and experiences thousands of cross-border travelers daily. Supported by the United States, Minister Aceng’s proactive public health response efforts have helped to control and contain the spread of Ebola from the DRC into Uganda.
During their meeting, Secretary Azar and Minister Aceng discussed the Ugandan government’s successful response to recent isolated cases of Ebola in the country, and ongoing efforts to control the spread of the Ebola outbreak. After the DRC reported the Ebola outbreak, Uganda rapidly declared a state of emergency, allowing the country to proactively combat the spread of Ebola. Similarly aggressive public health efforts, with support from the U.S., have allowed Uganda to get on track to attain HIV epidemic control and increase preparedness for other infectious diseases.
Following their meeting, Minister Aceng hosted Secretary Azar and the delegation on a tour of the Uganda National Institute of Public Health, including the Public Health Emergency Operations Center (PHEOC) and the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP), a program supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Both are instrumental resources in efforts to combat Ebola. Further, the Ugandan Health Ministry has been a leader in advancing the Global Health Security Agenda thanks to the establishment of the PHEOC.
Secretary Azar and the delegation also visited the Uganda National Health Laboratory Service (UNHLS), where research into HIV, tuberculosis, and antimicrobial resistance is conducted. Collaboration between UNHLS and CDC has contributed to key global health security efforts, especially in controlling infectious disease threats. During the visit, Secretary Azar spoke with Minister Aceng and UNHLS officials about how the U.S. government can continue to support research at the UNHLS.
While in Kampala, Secretary Azar also visited the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Refugee Transit Center. About 1.3 million refugees currently reside in Uganda, and due to the ongoing conflicts in the DRC, up to 250 people per day are crossing the Uganda-DRC border to seek refuge. Through the IOM Migration Health Assessment Center, CDC and the State Department have instituted a refugee vaccination program to prevent epidemics like Ebola from spreading.