Minister for Africa Harriet Baldwin hails UK, Uganda co-operation in fighting infectious diseases

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Harriet Baldwin meets President ⁦Kaguta Museveni⁩, invites him to attend the illegal wildlife conference due in London. Focus is to help #EndWildlifeCrime
By :

Geoffrey Baluku

KAMPALA – UK Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin has visited the URVI Centre in Uganda (Uganda Virus Research Institute) hailing the historical and strong collaboration between the UK and Ugandan governments.

Laboratory technician Maria Nanyonjo gives a brief as Baldwin and West look on during their visit at Uganda Virus Research Institute

Established under an agreement between the Ugandan and the British Governments in 1988, it is currently at the forefront of cutting edge research on HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases including Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers such as the Ebola virus.

“I am delighted to visit the URVI Centre and see the successes of a 30-year partnership between the UK and Uganda on research into HIV and related diseases,” said Harriett Baldwin, UK Minister for Africa.

The new partnership between the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Centre shows the very best of UK expertise helping to prevent deadly diseases in both the world’s poorest regions and at home added Baldwin.

However, while visiting the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) on Friday, UK’s Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin announced additional funds up to £5.1 million to support Ebola preparedness and prevention efforts in Uganda.

Director Uganda Virus Research Institute Prof. Pontiano Kaleebu demonstrates to UK Minister of State for Africa Harriet Baldwin how the equipment at Uganda Virus Research Institute in Nakiwogo Entebbe works

This funding will support surveillance in high-risk districts at the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); risk reduction communication amongst communities; infection prevention and control measures as well as provide for improved case management.

A significant proportion of the funding will also provide core relief items (basic household necessities) to allow newly arrived refugees to leave overcrowded and high-risk transit and reception centres, therefore reducing further the risk of spread of Ebola.

The UK government and WHO judge Uganda’s current preparedness efforts to be strong. However, the risk of the disease spreading beyond the border from DRC is high and the funding will support timely interventions to strengthen screening at points of entry including the Entebbe international airport.

Baldwin also met Ugandan President ⁦Kaguta Museveni⁩ for bilateral talks focussed on Uganda-UK relations, South Sudan peace process and invited him to attend the illegal wildlife conference due in London from 11 to 12 October 2018.

The 2018 London conference is an opportunity to build on previous efforts, address the underlying issues that facilitate illegal wildlife trade, and make steps to tackle this criminal trade thus better protect the world’s most iconic species from the threat of extinction.

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