The Inspector General of Police, John Martins Okoth Ochola has issued guidelines to be followed by police commanders in ensuring they control the spread of Ebola.
The Ministry of Health earlier this week announced the outbreak of Ebola in Mubende district where two people have died of the disease.
On Friday, the Police Director for Public Services, AIGP Dr. Moses Byaruhanga, the Director of Health Services presented measures and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to be followed by commanders but also communicated to their subordinates in a bid to help contain the spread of Ebola.
“Ebola is spread mainly by hands that pick it and spread it to the mouth and nose. If you touch body fluids from an infected person including saliva, urine, blood and feaces and you touch your face, the virus will go into your body and cause a lot of problems. The most important thing is that we must manage our hands the way we did during Covid. Try as much as possible to put on a mask because it will ensure you avoid touching your mouth,” AIGP Dr. Byaruhanga.
He warned the commanders that police is one of the most high risk populations because of the overcrowding of stations but urged commanders to be careful while handling suspects.
“The congestion in our police cells, police corridors, congestion around police stations, the way we behave when we go to effect arrests should be a cause for worry. Commanders must brief your subordinates. You must ensure police stations and cells are not crowded. Screen suspects on a daily basis, ensure that suspects in minor cases are given bond so that we have few people in cells.”
According to the SOPs, suspects on capital offences ought to be processed within the shortest time possible to ensure they are taken to court and remanded.
“Ensure the cells and stations are disinfected and washed at least twice a week with plenty of water, soap and jik. That is a must. We must have hand washing facilities at entry points of every station just like it was during Covid.”
To ensure this, AIGP Byaruhanga said at every entry point, there should be a police officer deployed specifically to man the hand washing point to ensure every member of the public washes the hands.
According to the dos and don’ts, police should be careful while picking dead bodies from communities, especially those in Mubende where the virus has been reported.
AIGP Dr.Byaruhanga said all dead bodies should be picked in body bags and after which hands should be thoroughly washed with plenty of water, jik and soap.
“There is not saying you don’t have budget. The undersecretary gives money every quarter including imprest and operational funds. From these you can buy a jerrican of soap, box of soap and plenty of water, scrubbing brush for use. We shouldn’t have any excuse of lack of a budget.”
The police commanders have also been warned of any excuses in implementing the SOPs, failure of which would lead to disciplinary action.
“Commanders will be held liable if we find any station and more so in Kampala Metropolitan, or people reluctant about these guidelines, we shall have to take disciplinary action.”