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Marburg frustrates UPDF regional recruitment exercise

The Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) has cancelled its planned recruitment drive in the districts of Kapchorwa, Bukwo and Kween, following a confirmed outbreak of the Marburg hemorrhagic fever in some parts of eastern Uganda.

The recruitment was scheduled for October 28 at Kapchorwa district headquarters. But the region has been devastated by an outbreak of Marburg, a highly virulent disease associated with high case fatality rates.

The virus is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected persons or animals.

Army recruits being screened at Kololo

The ministry of Health officially declared the outbreak on October 19. As of October 24, five cases had been reported - one confirmed case, one probable case with an epidemiological link to the confirmed case, and three suspected cases including two health workers.

A statement issued by UPDF spokesman Brig Richard Karemire says the activity has been called off and that the districts will be accorded another chance in future.

“We wish to sincerely thank you all for the positive enthusiasm shown towards serving our country Uganda in the noble military profession. Please do not lose hope; there will be another chance in future,” Brig Karemire said.

The recruitment drive started on October 16 and ended on October 29. It seeks to address the human resource deficit arising out of the retirement of more than 3,000 personnel who will be leaving the Force over the next two years.

Up to 1,700 of these will be retiring in November, this year. The ministry of health has sent a team to the region and is monitoring the situation closely, to avoid a full-out epidemic.

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