The IGP has tasked all Police Officers to ensure they follow the Health and Safety guidelines in place, while carrying out their policing duties, amidst the new threats of the EBOLA virus. As of 24.09.2022, the Ministry of Health, indicated 5 new cases thus bringing the cumulative cases to 34 EVD case patients, including 16 confirmed cases and 18 probable cases. In addition, 21 cumulative deaths (4 confirmed, 17 probable) have occurred.
Although the speed of transmission is still slow in Mubende (30), Kyegegwa (03) and Kassanda (01), EBOLA is a contagious disease that can spread fast through any direct contact with blood or body fluids of an infected person. No confirmed cases have been reported in Kampala yet.
The Police Health Services has crafted a comprehensive emergency preparedness plan for all police stations, particularly those in the Wamala Region and now Rwenzori West. All Territorial Commanders have been tasked to look out for symptoms of high-grade fever, blood stained vomitus, and diarrhoea, loss of appetite, pain while swallowing. At a later stage the infected person starts oozing blood from every part of the body.
All police stations and officers have been issued with relevant guidelines to help protect themselves and reduce the livelihood of contracting EBOLA. The Director Police Health Services has also put out a task team, to closely monitor, coordinate and effectively respond, to any emergency situation. The guidelines include;
– Practice proper hand hygiene by promptly washing or sanitizing hands after coughing, sneezing or physically interacting with others. Washing hands with soap, jik and water, should at least take 20 seconds. Correct hand hygiene lowers the number of germs on the hands and limits the opportunity for spread of the EBOLA virus.
– Avoid touching your face (eyes, nose and mouth).
– Cover your mouth and nose- with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. And make sure to dispose of the tissue immediately. Wash your hands with soap immediately after sneezing or coughing.
– Avoid close physical contact with others, including shaking hands or hugging.
– Avoid sharing items like clothes, shoes etc which can carry body fluids.
– Maintain at least a 6 ft distance between your self and anyone who is coughing, sneezing or talking, when possible. This measure on social distance MUST cut a cross all offices, the police counter or reception, police cells and transportation.
– Promptly disinfect your gear, after physical contact with any individual.
– Keep disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizers in an easily accessible place while on duty.
– Wear a mask if coming into contact with some one who has the EBOLA virus and make sure you properly dispose it off.
– Educate your self and participate in the training on the proper use of Personal protective Equipment (PPE) for respiratory protection if available. Ensure only trained personnel wearing PPE have contact with individuals who have or may have EBOLA.
– Use of referrals of LCs, elders and other community leaders, for minor cases, to help decongest the cells.
– Seek medical care early if you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing.
– Consider sanitizing items you frequently touch like phones, laptop and folders/clipboards.
– All patrol cars should be regularly sanitized at the steering wheel, gear shift, dispatch radio module, door handles and edges.
– Consider restricting unnecessary movements to burials, weddings, markets and other congested places. Controlled movements are very crucial.
SCP Enanga Fred
26th September 2022