Uganda's education ministry just announced that private international schools, where tuition reaches $29,000 USD, can stay open as all others remain closed due to the ongoing Ebola outbreak. The schools, which charge fees far above the country's per capita GDP of just $858 per person, are largely used by Uganda's wealthy families and focus on "holistic" rather than academic learning.
The Ebola outbreak has killed nearly 80 people since it was identified earlier this year - almost half of the people who have been infected with the virus. The current circulating variant of Ebola is the Sudan strain, for which there is no vaccine.
SabasabaUpdates, a local news outlet based in Uganda, reports:
International schools in Uganda have been given a green light to complete the school term despite the threat of the Ebola Virus disease outbreak which forced other schools to close early.
The Ministry of Education recently directed all pre-primary and primary schools to close two weeks early on November 25, 2022 as a measure to minimize congestion that may expose learners to Ebola which broke out in the country in October.
However, the Ministry of Education and Sports stated that International schools can continue to operate beyond 25th November, partly because they follow the calendas and curricula of international bodies to which they are affiliated.
In a letter dated 15th November 2022, the Permanent Secretary MOE&S Ketty Lamaro also clarified that the small enrolment numbers in international schools and the fact that learners are dropped and picked by parents everyday, minimizes the risk of Ebola infection and spread.
On October 8th, 2022, Uganda announced that it will close all schools after 23 cases were confirmed among students. Cases have been found in five schools in Kampala. Other schools in Wakiso and Mubende are also impacted.
Cabinet had agreed to close pre-primary, primary, and secondary schools from November 25, two weeks before the scheduled end of term.
Twenty-three total cases in children have been found, and 8 children have died.
What are international schools?
Increasingly, many well-to-do Ugandans are preferring to enroll their children in international schools.
Unlike the traditional schools that focus largely on academics, most of these schools prepare students to be all-around developed citizens and have luxurious facilities that provide comfort to the learners. In some of these schools, students have continental breakfast, wi-fi in dormitories, and have regular trips to the US and Europe.
The Kampala Sun lists some of the most expensive international schools in this article, many of which charge astronomical tuition compared to the income of the average Ugandan. For example, some international schools charge almost $29,000 per year in tuition, far above the country's per capita GDP of just $858 per person.
What is Ebola?
Ebola virus disease is a serious and deadly illness that affects humans and primates. The Ebola virus causes the disease, which is spread through contact with an infected person's blood or body fluids. Early symptoms of EVD include fever, muscle pain, and headaches, followed by vomiting, diarrhea, and internal and external bleeding. Death typically occurs 6-16 days after symptoms appear. There is no specific treatment for Ebola at this time; however early diagnosis and supportive care can improve the chances of survival.
How does Ebola spread?
Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a severe, often fatal human illness. The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
- The Ebola virus can be spread through direct contact with the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with EVD, or with objects that have been contaminated with these fluids.
- Healthcare workers have frequently been infected while treating patients with suspected or confirmed EVD, due to close contact without strictly following infection control precautions.
- Burial ceremonies that involve direct contact with the body of the deceased can also contribute to the transmission of Ebola. People remain infectious as long as their blood contains the virus.
- Pregnant women who get acute Ebola and recover from the disease may still carry the virus in breastmilk or pregnancy-related fluids and tissues, posing a risk of transmission to their baby or others. Women who become pregnant after surviving Ebola disease are not at risk of carrying the virus themselves.
The fatality rate for Ebola cases is 50%. However, it has varied from 25% to 90% in prior outbreaks.
Ebola-Cases.com tracks global data on the 2022 Ebola virus disease outbreak. Because the site is updated daily, this will be one of the first places you will be able to go to view information about any Ebola outbreak. We will also aggregate and share any information about the number of Ebola cases and deaths on our Twitter account, so be sure to follow it for up-to-date information.