On August 30, 2023, representatives from Baylor-Uganda, the Ministry of Health (MoH), Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Directorate of Public Health and Environment, GIZ, the United Kingdom Agency for International Development (UKAID) and collaborating partners convened at the Golf Course Hotel, Kampala, to celebrate achievements of the BACKUP Health project that focused on strengthening connections between laboratory testing, surveillance, and community systems to contain the COVID-19 and Sudan Ebola virus diseases in Kampala. The parties also discussed strategies to sustain these commendable achievements.
Baylor-Uganda’s BACKUP Health project that was implemented between December 2021 to August 2022 contributed to improvement of surveillance reporting by utilizing the decentralized urban cluster health service delivery model developed by KCCA’s Directorate of Public Health and Environment. The project skilled health care workers on routine surveillance reporting, analysis and data use. By the end of the project implementation period, reporting had improved by 71% and supported data use for decision making; 324 village health teams had been trained as well as other community resource persons on conducting community active case searches in Kampala. As a result, community awareness of Ebola symptoms was improved; over 6,258 Ebola warning signals from the community were identified and investigated; those who came into contact with Ebola confirmed cases were identified and appropriately observed leading to a high follow-up rate of 92%. This success serves as a valuable example for response to other epidemics.
The BACKUP Health project also upgraded a web-based system to enhance surveillance data visualization and real-time decision-making for Ebola and other infectious diseases in Kampala. The project further trained 145 healthcare workers to use electronic laboratory investigation forms, which improved COVID-19 reporting.
Dr. Dithan Kiragga, the Executive Director of Baylor-Uganda, recognized the contributions of Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) stakeholders in Uganda. “I want to thank KCCA, the MoH (Surveillance Unit and CPHL), WHO, IDI, and other partners that supported the implementation. He further appreciated UKAID/FCDO and GIZ that provided catalytic funds to make this possible,” he said.
UKAID representative, Ms. Lisha Lala, applauded the efforts of the partnership in engaging the private health sector and community groups in Kampala and recommended continuous monitoring and improvement of the city-health information system for urban surveillance and decision-making in response to future public health threats.
“Utilizing electronic tools improved reporting and we must continue this trend to combat all diseases,” said Dr. Michael Mwanga, Assistant Commissioner on Surveillance, Information and Knowledge Management at the Ministry of Health.
Dr. Mwanga deemed the project a success and expressed gratitude to KCCA’s Directorate of Public Health and Environment, Baylor-Uganda, GIZ, UKAID and other collaborating partners for their support.