Uganda’s coronavirus journey

Saturday April 4 2020

Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu, State Minister for

Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu, State Minister for Primary Health Care. File photo 

By NOBERT ATUKUNDA

Majority of the coronavirus patients who are hospitalised at Entebbe, Mulago and Masaka hospitals are responding to treatment and seem to be improving, the Health ministry has said.

Uganda has not registered any coronavirus-related death as of yesterday, with positive cases standing at 45 by close of Thursday. None had been discharged by press time.

Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu, the State Minister for Primary Health Care, recently said Uganda was still registering improvement given that most of the patients were improving and were in stable condition.

Uganda is drawing on its previous experiences of battling outbreaks such as Ebola to fight coronavirus.

There is no approved cure for coronavirus at the moment, and treatments are based on the kind of care given for influenza (seasonal flu) and other severe respiratory illnesses known as “supportive care,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Live science reports.

These treatments essentially treat the symptoms, which often in the case of Covid-19, involve fever, cough and shortness of breath. In mild cases, this might simply mean rest and fever-reducing medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) for comfort.

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Dr Kaducu said with coronavirus patients, the treatment protocol has started with chloroquine, antibiotics, vitamin C and Paracetamol to reduce the fever, among others.

With the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring coronavirus a pandemic, many scientists turned to the prospect of a vaccine, because only a vaccine can prevent people from getting sick.

The National Drug Authority (NDA) has warned the public against stockpiling and panic buying of chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine.

Dr Kaducu added that given the movement and timeliness of the outbreak in Uganda and Africa, a lot of lessons had been learnt from other countries that were first hit by the pandemic.

“By the time the virus reached Africa, we had already got experience of what to do, how to look after the patients,” she said.

Prof David Serwadda, a medical researcher, said the coronavirus low death rate in Africa is an issue of time because the epidemic is moving into Africa at a much later stage.

The Ministry of Health says the past outbreaks have left medical workers with experiences to handle them.
Dr Kaducu said there is need to do research about genetics since this virus takes into consideration very many things such as genetic back ground and the environment, among others.

natukunda@ug.nationemdia.com

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