Commissioning the EOC at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital
The Uganda Minister of Health Rt. Hon. Dr Jane Ruth Aceng accompanied by the WHO Country Representative Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam and the IDI-Makerere Executive Director, Dr Andrew Kambugu commissioned the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital on 15th August 2020. This advancement supported by IDI with funding from Resolve To Save Lives is intended to strengthen the regional coordination and response to public health emergencies including outbreaks like COVID-19 within the 16 districts in the Mbale region. The regional EOC will function under the guidance of a national steering committee for emergency preparedness and response in accordance with the roles and responsibilities of the incident management system (IMS).
Dr Jane Ruth Aceng thanked IDI for the commendable work in supporting the regional mechanism, equipping the centre and providing technical and human resource. She thanked all the district task forces in the region for the efforts in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak and cautioned that the pandemic was just beginning and evolving, urging all to prepare adequately. She noted that Mbale region is a special one and should be ready to handle all increasing number of cases as the pandemic soars through the mechanism. She highlighted that deaths occur due to late reporting and thus called for a very strong alert management system to be put in place to manage all alerts that may come from the community.
A baseline analysis of the 16 districts COVID-19 response and stakeholder meetings including the culture leaders was conducted. This informed the development of the concept of operations to guide the establishment and implementation of the regional response mechanism and the Regional Emergency Operation Center. The regional mechanism is led by a multi-sectoral steering team with technical guidance from the Ministry of Health. The team is led by the Mbale Regional Referral Hospital Director and is co-chaired by the 3rd Division UPDF Commander and constitutes the regional health leadership, regional security teams, district leaders, development partners and other key sector players. The Hon. Minister launched the regional coordination team to steer the response efforts.
By Kenneth Mulindwa