Butaleja leaders alarmed over Covid deaths in communities

Members of the Parliamentary Covid-19 Taskforce inspect Busolwe General Hospital in Butaleja District on Monday. Leaders in Butaleja District have raised alarm over the increasing number of Covid-19 deaths in communities.
 PHOTO/YAHUDU KITUNZI

What you need to know:

  • In Busabi Sub-county, officials found that more than 70 people had succumbed to Covid-19 in June.

BY YAHUDU KITUNZI
L eaders in Butaleja District have raised alarm over the increasing number of Covid-19 deaths in communities.
Addressing MPs on the parliamentary Covid-19 taskforce on Tuesday, the district health officer, Dr Siraj Kizito, said although figures indicate that the cases are reducing, Covid-19 deaths are common and many go unreported. The MPs were inspecting Busolwe hospital.
The district is ranked fourth in cases after Tororo, Busia, and Mbale. It has so far registered 357 cases and 17 deaths in the second wave.
“The number of Covid-19 deaths are on the rise according to the verbal autopsy examination exercises we have been carrying out to establish causes of deaths in the affected villages,” he said.
He said in Busabi Sub-county, they found that more than 70 people had succumbed to Covid-19 in June.
Verbal autopsy (VA) is a method of gathering information about symptoms and circumstances that caused a death.
Dr Kizito said patients have also avoided seeking treatment at the district’s general hospital following the designation of the children’s ward into a Covid isolation centre.
 “There is a lot of fear related to the pandemic that people have resorted to not coming to hospital and yet Covid-19 is killing many people in the community,” he said.  
Dr Kizito said many patients prefer self-medication when they start experiencing Covid symptoms.
 “This is the group that is dying in silence without going to hospital for testing or treatment,” he said.
Dr Kizito also said 25 health workers had tested positive for Covid-19 due to lack of personal protective gear (PPEs).
 “There are no facemasks, gloves, coveralls, sanitizers, medicines, soap both liquid and bars, among others,”  the district health officer said. 
The Bunyole West MP,  Mr Geoffrey Mutiwa, said there is a need to change people’s mindset on how Covid-19 spreads and its treatment.
 “Many of our people who get sick of Covid-19 to treat themselves in their families and this explains why the deaths are on increase that go unrecorded,” Mr Mutiwa, said.
 When Daily Monitor visited Busolwa hospital on Monday, it found the male ward empty, while the female one had few patients.
 Mr Emmanuel Otala, the chairperson of eastern region parliamentary Covid taskforce, called for massive sensitisation, saying many people still think Covid can be treated by witch doctors
 The district Woman MP, Ms Florence Andiru Nebanda, said some of the pregnant women have also stopped attending antenatal clinics at Busolwe hospital for fear of contracting coronavirus.
 “We have some families that have lost their loved ones to malaria because they feared taking them to hospital,” Ms Nebanda said.
 Mr Stanley Bayole, the Resident District Commissioner, said they have stepped up sensitisation drives. 
 “We have also stopped the politicians from attending burials to fight the pandemic ,” Mr Bayole said.


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