Health plan developed ahead of El Nino
By Violet Nabatanzi and Juliet Waiswa
THE Ministry of Health (MoH) has developed a disease outbreak preparedness plan in preparation for the predicted El-Nino in the country.
The plan has been integrated into the National El-Nino preparedness and Contingency Plan coordinated by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).
According to a statement issued by the Permanent Secretary MoH, Dr. Asuman Lukwago among the key activities in the plan include, provision of additional medicines and supplies, strengthening disease surveillance; Emergency training for Village Health Teams; sanitation and hygiene programs ,malaria prevention programs; health education and community mobilization.
"We are working closely with the National Multi-Sectoral El Nino committee to implement these activities," he said.
This follows a report by the Uganda National Meteorological Authority together with the Inter Government Authority on Development (IGAD) Regional Climate Application and Prediction Centre and the World Meteorological Organization that Uganda would experience an El Nino episode from late October 2015 to February 2016.
The report warned that this year's El Nino will be stronger than the ones which occurred in March 2010 where over 150 people were buried in Bududa District and the one of 2006 which flooded many villages in Teso and Lango sub-regions.
The meteorologists expect floods, extensive erosion and mudslides which will cause loss of lives and destruction of homes.
The report predicts that incidence of infectious and non-communicable diseases such as Malaria, Cholera, Asthma, Typhoid, Bilharzia, Dysentery and acute respiratory infections may increase in about 33 of the 112 districts.
Currently, more than 12,500 households representing 100,000 people are at a risk of landslides in the Mt. Elgon and Rwenzori sub-regions.
"As a result up to 20,000 people are likely to be displaced between November 2015 and February 2016," Lukwago said.
Lukwago said the effects of the El Nino rains are likely to affect Rwenzori region and other districts including, Kampala, Bududa, Bulambuli, Manafwa, Sironko, Mbale, Butaleja, Tororo, Kapchorwa, Bukwo, Kween, Kasese, Budibugyoa and Ntoroko.
Other districts are Amolatar, Amuria, Katakwi, Nakapiripirit, Napak, Moroto, Kotido, Kaabong, Kaberamaido, Otuke, Amudat, Kisoro, Kabale, Rukungiri, Kanungu, Ntungamo, Moyo and Kabarole.
Lukwago appealed to the districts to strengthen disease surveillance due to expected increase of epidemics related to rainy seasons.
He emphasized heath education and awareness campaigns on the use of mosquito nets, slashing bushes, disposing open containers, filling open pits around homes, draining of stagnant water to reduce malaria.