Why treat passengers from Entebbe as if there was Ebola in Uganda?


(Posted 09th August 2014)

News that passengers from Entebbe, arriving in Nairobi by air, were subjected to the same intense tests and interrogation as passengers arriving from Ebola affected countries in West Africa, caused instant anger and frustration, with two travelers known to this correspondent voicing their bewilderment over the treatment they received yesterday.

There is no Ebola in Uganda. Even in 2012 when we had a small outbreak there were no such measures taken. The one suspicious case of a South Sudanese coming from Juba was cleared within hours after the Uganda Virus Research Institute confirmed that there was no Ebola. Why are we being treated like if we had an outbreak? It is not fair and I wonder what the agenda of the Kenyans is to treat us badly’.

Local health authorities in Kampala had yesterday publicly announced that there was no cause for concern and that a person arriving in Entebbe from Juba with a fever was checked and later released.

The other traveler was harsher in his judgment when he texted: ‘Treated like coming from Westafrica’ and then adding ‘If they are so worried they should stop flying there’ before ending ‘If they panic about us from EBB they should douse each plane from Westafrica with Jik’. [Jik is a
locally produced bleach]

No comments were received from aviation sources in Nairobi though the measures were also found to have been reported in local Kenyan media, causing further consternation among travelers from Uganda headed for Nairobi. Attempts to get a feedback from the land-borders in Busia and Malaba and what if any added measures have been put into place have until now failed to get results, though information came through yesterday that bus passengers had all their baggage screened by customs and security personnel before being allowed to enter Kenya. National airline Kenya Airways too did not respond to a question why Ugandan travellers are being targetted when the country is patently free of Ebola.

The mirage of the East African Community where, when push comes to shove, it is every country for itself as coordination measures stutter and stumble.

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