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Uganda sends troops to Tanzania for joint regional training exercise 

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Uganda has dispatched a contingent of 219 troops and civilians for a two-week joint East African Community Field Training Exercise (EAC-FTX) in Tanzania, a military spokesperson said on Thursday.

Lt. Col. Deo Akiiki, Uganda’s deputy military spokesperson, told Xinhua by telephone that 163 soldiers, 37 police officers, two prisons officers and 17 civilian personnel will participate in the 11th field training exercise, dubbed “FTX USHIRIKINO IMARA” in Tanga region. 

Akiiki said the exercise, which attracts over 1,000 troops and civilians from the six EAC partner states, is designed based on peace support operations, disaster management, counter terrorism and counter piracy themes.

“The aim of the exercise is to jointly train and exercise the military, the police and civilian components from the six participating EAC partner states on joint planning and conduct of operations necessary to resolve arising crisis,” said Akiiki. 

The troops are drawn from Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Tanzania. 

The Ugandan team led by Brig. James Ruhensi was flagged off by Lt. Gen. Wilson Mbadi, deputy Chief of Defenses Forces on Wednesday at the Gadaffi military cantonment headquarters in the eastern town of Jinja.

The participants are expected to enhance the state of readiness of the partner states’ armed forces, police, civilian components and other stakeholders in response to complex and multidimensional security challenges in the region. 

It will also strengthen cooperation, integration agenda, planning and conduct of public affairs in support of operations among EAC partner states. 

The field training exercise was established in 2004 to train forces within EAC member states as a means of demonstrating compatibility and readiness to deploy in peace support operations, basing on past experiences of conflicts in Africa, such as the 1994 Rwanda genocide. 



Museveni unveils Uganda’s largest transformer at joint venture with China

MUKONO, Uganda (Xinhua) -- Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday unveiled the country’s largest power transformer at a plant run by the first private joint venture between Uganda and China.

Orion Transformers and Electrics Ltd, located in the central Ugandan district of Mukono, about 15 km east of Kampala, was established in 2012 and started production in 2015.

Tucked in the middle of Namanve Industrial Park, Orion Transformers and Electrics Ltd is the only transformer-making factory in the east Africa country.

Patrick Bitature, former chairman of Uganda Investment Authority, told reporters at the plant that it is through such ventures that Uganda can fast track its development.

When factories set up base in Uganda, they are not only creating jobs but also transfering skills, said Bitature, also a prominent businessman.

“These partnerships are what we need to develop skills. We need them to train our people, if the skills are transferred, then it is a win-win,” he said.

The factory now produces 1,500 transformers and switch-gear annually, with an output value of 10 million U.S. dollars.

Local employees have now gained skills and can carry on with the works at the plant, said factory general manager Liu Hanlin.

Out of the 35 workers who assemble and repair transformers, only three are Chinese nationals and the rest are locals, he said.

Liu said the factory has trained over 70 local workers since 2015 and that some of them have ended up leaving the country to work elsewhere because of the skills they gained.

Hou Jianxiong, chairman of Orion Transformers and Electrics Ltd, said the firm hopes to eventually invest 100 million dollars and create 5,000 jobs.


Uganda confirms Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever case in western district

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Uganda ministry of health on Wednesday confirmed a case of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) in the western district of Kabarole.

Emmanuel Ainebyoona, senior public relation officer for the ministry of health, told Xinhua by telephone that laboratory results from samples taken from a female patient under isolation at Fort Portal regional referral hospital tested positive of the fever.

“There is a confirmed case of CCHF in Kabarole, but there are measures put in place to ensure that the disease doesn’t spread,” Ainebyoona said.

He said a national rapid response team from the ministry of health and that of agriculture, animal industry and fisheries has been dispatched to Kabarole to handle and contain the outbreak.

The CCHF is a tick-borne illness transmitted to humans through tick bites. It can also be transmitted through direct contact with the blood, secretions and the organs of infected people.

According to the World Health Organization, a CCHF outbreak constitutes a threat to public health.

The global health body says the fever, endemic in Africa, the Balkans and the Middle East, is associated with a high case fatality ratio of 10-40 percent.


Uganda to vaccinate high-risk health workers against Ebola

KAMPALA Uganda  (Xinhua) -- Uganda will start Ebola vaccinations next Monday, targeting frontline health workers in high-risk districts bordering the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where there is an outbreak.

Jane Ruth Aceng, minister of health, told reporters here on Friday that with World Health Organization (WHO) support, Uganda has procured over 2,100 of rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccines, and while supplementary doses have been requested.

About 3,000 frontline health workers in the five high-risk districts of Kabarole, Bunyangabo, Kasese, Bundibugyo, and Ntoroko, which border the DRC, are targeted.

“Our health workers are the highest risk population for Ebola,” said Aceng, accompanied by WHO officials.

She said Ebola preparedness and response activities are in high gear in Uganda, even though there is no outbreak in the country.

Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, WHO country representative in Uganda, said the vaccine is safe as evidenced from its previous use in Guinea, Sierra Leone and the DRC.

The Ebola virus is highly contagious and causes a range of symptoms including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, generalized pain or malaise and in many cases internal and external bleeding.

Mortality rates of Ebola fever, according to the WHO, are extremely high, with the human case fatality rate ranging from 50 percent to 89 percent, depending on viral sub-type.


Rwanda sets up Ebola response center at border with DR Congo

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Rwanda Ministry of Health has set up an Ebola center in Rubavu district bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) as part of overall preparedness against the disease, an official said on Tuesday.

The functions of the center, which was inaugurated on Monday, include Ebola screening and treatment, said Jose Nyamusore, head of Epidemic Surveillance and Response Division at Rwanda Biomedical Center, at a media briefing in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda.

The establishment of the fully-equipped center is part of the major national Ebola preparedness and response plan, Nyamusore said.

Ebola case management trainings for medical staff at health facilities, security organs, Red Cross volunteers, and community health workers are being conducted by the health ministry with its partners, he said.

The landlocked country has stepped up Ebola awareness and community engagement throughout the country using various communication channels, he added.

Ministry of Health on Monday with its partners conducted a full scale simulation exercise to test the country’s readiness in Ebola case detection and management in Rubavu district, following a mock response exercise for Rwandan army medical personnel last week.

Since the outbreak of Ebola in DR Congo, Rwanda has put in place strict prevention measures against the disease.


UN resolution on DRC Ebola outbreak emphasizes international support

UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) -- A resolution on the latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) adopted Tuesday by the UN Security Council emphasizes the importance of continued international support.

Resolution 2439 emphasizes “the importance of continued international support, including financial support, in order to bring the Ebola outbreak under control.”

It also encourages the DRC, the World Health Organization and other Ebola responders to continue to “improve the transparency and accuracy of reporting on the status of the outbreak.”

The resolution expresses concern that “the security situation impedes response to and containment of the Ebola virus in the DRC.”

It urges that all parties to respect international humanitarian law and international human rights law and that they ensure immediate and unhindered access for humanitarian and medical personnel and that their equipment and medical facilities are protected under international law.

The resolution also condemns rebel groups “for putting responders at risk and hampering response efforts.”

The resolution was initiated by Ethiopia, which worked in close cooperation with Sweden. Several Council members co-sponsored the resolution.

The latest outbreak of Ebola happened in North Kivu and Ituri of the DRC in August. According to the WHO, as of Oct. 23 there were 212 confirmed and 35 probable cases of Ebola. Of the 159 deaths reported, 124 are confirmed Ebola-related deaths and 35 are probable Ebola-related deaths.

This is not the first time the Council has addressed the interaction between an Ebola epidemic and the maintenance of international peace and security. During the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea in 2014, the Council adopted Resolution 2177 on Sept. 18, 2014, determining that “the unprecedented extent of the Ebola outbreak in Africa constitutes a threat to international peace and security.”



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