Ugandan health ministry requests funding to fight Marburg outbreak, WHO doubtful

The Ugandan Ministry of Health recently requested funding to contain an outbreak of Marburg hemorrhagic fever in the western portion of the country.

Health Minister Dr. Christine Ondoa said that the money is needed quickly if her ministry is to have a good chance of containing the deadly virus. So far, the illness has claimed six lives and has been identified in the Kabale, Ibanda and Rukungiri districts, according to

Ondoa said that a portion of the requested funds, amounting to nearly $900,000 total, will be used centrally by the ministry for surveillance, social mobilization, research and the purchase of protective gear. The remaining funds are to be sent directly to the affected areas.

"We have to commute from Kampala to Kabale on a daily basis, taking samples and surveillance which is very expensive," Ondoa said, reports.

The World Health Organization's country representative, Dr. Joaquim Saweka, said the Ugandan government has a poor track record in providing the necessary funds to control potentially dangerous outbreaks. He said health experts and Uganda's development partners are beginning to worry.

"The Government pledged to provide funding for Ebola and Nodding Syndrome and up to now this money has not been passed on to the Ministry of Health," Saweka said, reports.