Covid-19 patients overwhelm designated health facilities

Tuesday June 2 2020

The two mechanics who tes

The two mechanics who tested positive for Covid-19 in Masaka being transported to Masaka Referal Hospital on May 26. PHOTO/ WILSON KUTAMBA 

By TONNY ABET

As cases of new Covid-19 infections soar to 457, the administrators of regional hospitals designated to manage the disease are saying they are overwhelmed by the numbers due to limited space.

Government has centralised Covid-19 management in all regional referral hospitals across the country.
Gulu Regional Referral Hospital is one of the health facilities that has been stretched beyond its capacity as the number of cases continue to increase.

Dr Paul Ajuk, the hospital administrator, said they already have 67 cases under management yet the hospital’s capacity is 50. “We are now using the clinical school [Gulu University],” he said yesterday.

Masaka Regional Referral Hospital has 22 cases but their carrying capacity is 21 patients.

Dr Nathan Onyachi, the hospital director, advised the government to consider taking Covid-19 patients who don’t present known symptoms back to their homes to decongest the treatment centres.

“We are considering sending home Tuberculosis (TB) patients,” Dr Onyachi said.

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Each regional referral hospital, according to an earlier plan by the Ministry of Health, was supposed to create capacity that can manage between 30 to 50 patients.

Lira Regional Referral Hospital is one of the facilities that created space to manage only 22 cases but Dr Stephen Obbo, the hospital administrator, told Daily Monitor yesterday that they already have 21 cases under management.
“We have 16 medical workers who are managing the cases. We are working with the Ministry of Health to expand the facility,” he said.

Entebbe Grade B hospital has 115 cases under management and its capacity is 150, according to Dr Moses Muwanga, the hospital director.

“We have 25 confirmed cases and 95 suspects at the facility. A total of 115 cases are being managed at the facility,” he said.

Dr Byarugaba Baterana, the executive director of Mulago National Referral Hospital, described their state as “overwhelming”, but didn’t disclose the number of patients they are managing.
Uganda Virus Research Institute warns

According to Dr Julius Lutwama, a virologist and deputy director of UVRI, the country faces tough times if the cases keep increasing. “Covid-19 spreads very fast and if the number of people who become sick keep increasing, it will be very difficult for medical workers who are few,” he said.

Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu, the State minister for Primary Healthcare, blamed some of the facilities for having limited space while managing patients.

“We guided Lira Regional Referral Hospital and Gulu Regional Referral Hospital to preferably use the mental health units because they are bigger. We asked them to relocate mental patients to another place. But Gulu went ahead to designated the TB Ward which is very small,” she said.

Statistics
Here are the Ministry of Health statistics of confirmed cases admitted at different health facilities by last Thursday. These do not include those under monitoring.
Entebbe Hospital had (43)
Masaka Regional Referral Hospital (RRH) (22)
Gulu RRH (65)
Lira RRH (21)
Arua RRH (18)
Mbale (11)
Jinja (08)
Naguru RRH (11)
Mulago NRH (05)
Mbarara RRH (02)
Hoima RRH (02)
Mubende RRH (01)
Fort Portal RRH (01)
Adjumani RRH (03)
Soroti (04)
Kabale (00)

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