Maria Gorret Nantaayi, UN Volunteer Nurse and Case Management Officer with WHO, taking the blood pressure of a patient at the Entebbe Survivors Clinic.
Maria Gorret Nantaayi, UN Volunteer Nurse and Case Management Officer with WHO, taking the blood pressure of a patient at the Entebbe Survivors Clinic.

Enabling contact tracing and infection control in the Ebola crisis

The World Health Organization recruited 20 UN Volunteers to support its response to the Ebola virus outbreak in Uganda. Meet Namuli, Brian and Caroline, who have been providing support in contact tracing, health and nursing as specialized UN Volunteers.

Namuli Annet Christine, Data Management Officer, WHO Uganda

Namuli is Public Health Specialist who was recruited as a national UN Volunteer Data Management Officer with WHO in Uganda. She has always been motivated to create positive health impact in communities, in areas of prevention, detection and response to public health emergencies, especially disease outbreaks like the recent Ebola virus. Becoming a UN Volunteer gave her that opportunity.

Volunteering to help the survivors of the Ebola disease was an opportunity for me to give back to my community. I believe that in a fragile situation like this, where people’s lives are affected and they are traumatized, we, as volunteers, bring hope for a better tomorrow and support with new beginnings. --Namuli Annet Christine, UN Volunteer Data Management Officer with WHO Uganda.

The Alert Management Centre and Emergency Medical Services receive emergency calls, which are verified, categorized and forwarded for evacuation to the treatment and isolation centres, and for further verification by the surveillance teams.

My role is to oversee the adherence to the Call Centre operation procedures, review the data collected and generate daily situation reports to the response team at WHO. I also identify administrative and human resource gaps and submit recommendations to address them.

The key highlight of my responsibilities is generating situation reports and data graphics to inform decision making. In my day-to-day work, I have been supporting colleagues engaged in alert management and emergency operations, epidemiology, health facilities and field activities, including active case search.

Additionally, I lead the verification of calls, training and mentoring of Call Centre personnel. Throughout my journey with WHO as a UN Volunteer, I have had many achievements. A recent one that I am particularly proud of was when I coordinated the training of 24 call centre personnel and 16 ambulance drivers and emergency medical technicians in infection prevention and control. I also procured IT equipment worth US $60,000 to upgrade the call centre and optimize our service provision.

Brian Hivan Ogand, Infection Prevention and Control Officer

Brian is a certified prevention specialist with a background in Public Health serving as a national UN Volunteer Infection Prevention and Control Officer with WHO in Uganda. Raised in a community characterized by high disease burden, poverty and low literacy, Brian was inspired to strive for a change in his community. At only 17 years old, he started working as a Village Health Team Volunteer, helping improve people’s health during disease outbreaks, such as malaria and diarrheal diseases. Brian then moved on to work in the public health sector with international non-governmental organizations. In August 2022, the now 34-year-old joined WHO in Uganda to support the response to Ebola virus disease outbreak.

I did not hesitate, because volunteering is so fulfilling. Volunteering with the UN has given me so much exposure, networking and learning opportunities. --Brian Hivan Ogang, Infection Prevention and Control Officer with WHO, Uganda

As UN Volunteer Infection Prevention and Control Officer, I provide technical support on organizational and operational aspects of comprehensive infection prevention and control activities at district level. I collaborate on a daily basis with district personnel, communities, partners and health care workers.

Throughout the Ebola response to date, the WHO infection prevention and control pillar provided technical guidance and support to the Ministry of Health and partners. Luckily for me, I am one of six UN Volunteers recruited to support this response.

In the past two months, I have been able to assess and provide dedicated support to 57 health facilities and two Ebola treatment units in high-risk districts, in addition to providing onsite mentorship to 423 health care workers. I supported two districts in developing their infection prevention and control workplan and collaboratively improved compliance in Wakiso district from 48.5 to 64.6 per cent.

In emergency response, everyone’s action in health care matters; no one is superior. I made sure that I actively engaged every team member in the Ebola response. During one of my joint environment clean-up sessions with the hygienists, one commented, “I never thought of doing this dirty, but rewarding, work with WHO personnel. You guys are down to earth, and I will always practice everything you modelled for us.”

This is the third time I am volunteering in my lifetime. It is so rewarding and fulfilling to help people in need to overcome their challenges and contribute to a change in the community.

Caroline Olyet Anyango, Case Management Nurse, WHO Uganda

Caroline in a national UN Volunteer Case Management Nurse with WHO in Uganda, currently supporting the Ebola virus response programme at the Entebbe Survivors Clinic.

We rejoiced after my country was declared free of Ebola. Of the 87 survivors, 19 are being reviewed by the Entebbe Survivor’s Clinic, where we nursed 13 adults and six children. It is gratifying to see their progress at their regular visits to our facility. --Caroline Olyet Anyango, UN Volunteer Case Management Nurse with WHO, Uganda

At the clinic, I conduct general nursing care responsive to patient presentation and concerns. I manage data entry into the outpatient registry for the Ministry of Health, issue medication as prescribed, capture daily statistical and clinical information for daily reporting to my WHO onsite supervisor, and assist with drawing laboratory samples. I am also in charge of ensuring the availability and functionality of essential equipment like the blood pressure monitor.

We are two UN Volunteer Nurses at this Survivor’s Clinic, where we support, monitor and treat the post-Ebola virus complications and nurture positive resilience in the survivors and their families and community members.

Caroline is very professional. She has been handling many case scenarios and has been extremely supportive to survivors at the clinic. I believe that the UN Volunteers have been an asset to the Ebola virus response in the country, their contribution has made a huge difference in the lives of those effected by this disease. --Dr Senyonga Muzafalu, WHO Caroline’s supervisor with WHO, Uganda.