Covid-19: Medics who have died in line of duty

Left to right: Dr Samuel Kisaye Mutumba, Dr Milly Grace Arach and Dr John Baptist Mukasa. PHOTOS/FILE/COURTESY

Following the second wave of Covid-19 that recently hit the country, more than 10 medical doctors have since succumbed to the deadly virus in the last three weeks, according to the Uganda Medical Association (UMA). Nobert Atukunda, Anthony Wesaka & Naume Biira bring you short bios of some of the medics who died in the line of duty.

Dr Samuel Kisaye Mutumba

Dr Mutumba was a distinguished paediatric surgeon who graduated from Makerere University.
Mr Muniini K. Mulera says Dr Mutumba grew up and started school in Bunamwaya, Wakiso District, before joining Kololo Senior Secondary School in Kampala in 1966.  

He left Kololo after attaining an A-Level certificate in 1971, and was admitted to Makerere University in July 1972. He later served as a medical officer at Bududa Hospital, before embarking on his specialty training at Mulago to become a surgeon.

He sub-specialised in paediatric surgery and embarked on a distinguished 30-year career of practice and teaching at Mulago before retiring from government employment as a consultant surgeon in 2014.

According to the Association of  Surgeons of Uganda, Mulago hospital paediatric surgery unit would not be in existence had it not been for Dr Mulumba’s unwavering efforts.

Dr John Baptist Mukasa

Dr Sabrina Kitaka, a paediatrician at Mulago National Referral Hospital, describes Dr Mukasa, who was commonly referred to as JB Neuro, as a cheerful medic. According to his colleagues, the country has lost one of the few distinguished neurosurgeons.

Dr Kitaka says: “He was always at the call of everyone who needed neuro surgical care. JB Neuro was extremely prayerful and always shared a word of inspiration on a daily basis on our health workforce [WhatsApp] group.”

Dr Robert Lubega, a former president of Uganda Medical Association, tweeted yesterday: “We talked and had a prayer yesterday morning and you were strong but the good Lord has called you, Uganda has lost one of its very few neurosurgeons but we have lost a friend and a mentor.” 

UMC Victoria Hospital said in a statement: “We shall clearly hold onto the great memories of his great personality and work that we were privileged to witness. Dr John Baptist Mukasa will surely be missed.”

Dr Milly Grace Arach

Dr Arach succumbed to Covid-19 earlier this week while being evacuated to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in Kampala since the whole of northern Uganda does not have the facility.

At the time of her demise, she was a senior peadiatrician at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital.
She had just qualified as a peadiatrician after her postgraduate training at Nsambya Hospital School of Nursing and Midwifery.

Dr Sabrina Kitaka, a senior peadiatrician eulogised the late Dr Arach: “Whilst she awaited her graduation, she worked diligently at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital. Her close friends say she was calm and collected. A beautiful woman in and out. Sadly, she was taken ill and needed evacuation to Kampala for ICU care. She did not make it. Our hearts and thoughts are with her young family and friends during this time.”

Dr Stephen Sebbudde

At the time of his demise, he was the Kanungu District health officer. He died on June 13, at Entebbe Grade B Hospital, where he had been admitted for three days with Covid-19 signs.

Dr Sebbudde’s first government job was as a dental surgeon and he was appointed on September 1, 1994. His first station was Kambuga Hospital under the Ministry of Health. He was later appointed on promotion by Rukungiri District Service Commission as a senior medical officer on October 1.

When Kanungu District was carved out of Rukugiri, Dr Sebbudde was appointed the acting district health officer in 2001. In 2003, he was substantively appointed the district director of health services, a position he held until his demise.

He will be much remembered for having loved to work in the remote Kanungu for almost his entire career life and yet his colleagues opted for urban areas. He is also credited for working selflessly to ensure all people in the community are equally served when it comes to health.

Left to right: Dr Stephen Sebudde, Dr Grace Hope Mulindwa, Dr Peter Emodek and Dr Ian Bwete. PHOTOS/FILE/COURTESY

Dr Grace Hope Mulindwa

Dr Mulindwa was a consultant physician at Makerere University Hospital.  He was born in July 1961 to late Yekoyasi Mulindwa and late Olivia Nanyanzi Bukirwa. He went to Aga Khan Primary School, Masaka Secondary School and Makerere University.
He worked at Mulago hospital, Makerere University Hospital, BM Clinic (its proprietor), and High Precision Diagnostic Medical Centre.
According to his family members, Dr Mulindwa loved his job and all he wanted was to see his patients get better.
“He was born to be a doctor. There are people who study professions they do not like but for Dr Mulindwa, he loved his profession. He treated many,” a mourner said.

Dr Peter Emodek

He retired after serving at Mulago hospital and in other countries, including South Africa. Some of his colleagues refered to him as a mentor and an icon to all the medical fraternity globally.

Dr Ian Bwete

Dr Bwete was an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist, who served his patients with kindness and a smile. He worked at both Norvick and Mulago hospitals in Kampala.

Fiona Lalango tweeted: “You were good vibes Dr Ian Bwete. One of the few surgeons Uganda had. You served your patients with a smile, kindness and skill. Always brilliant and that is why all this feels like a bad dream. You will be missed by the team.”

Dr Abbas Kakembo 

Dr Kakembo, who was the chairperson of Vector Control Division Research and Ethics Committee at the Ministry of Health, will be remembered for his contributing in safeguarding the dignity, rights and wellbeing of all actual or potential research participants.

Left to right: Dr Abbas Kakembo and Dr Jeremy Uromcamu. PHOTOS/FILE/COURTESY

Dr Jeremy Uromcamu

At the time of his demise, Dr Uromcamu was the senior medical officer at Pakwach Health Centre IV.
The medic was one of the most experienced doctors in the field of surgery and medicine.
Prior to his transfer to Pakwach hospital, he worked at Nebbi General Hospital.
Before he was diagnosed with Covid-19, he was being treated for malaria.

Dr Alex Mulindwa

Dr Mukuzi Muhereza, the general secretary of Uganda Medical Association (UMA), recalls how Dr Mulindwa had passion for his work.
Dr Mulindwa worked with Baylor to coordinate HIV activities in the western region.


Dr Betty Mpeka

Dr Mpeka was renowned for her being at the forefront of fighting malaria in Uganda under the Malaria Consortium arrangement.
At the time of her passing on, she was the deputy chief of party at the Uganda Indoor Residual Consortium.

Her previous work involved being a member of the American Public Health Association and also a specialist in communicable diseases at the Uganda Programme for Human and Holistic Development.
Dr Mpeka also worked at the Health ministry in clinical services.

*Compiled by Nobert Atukunda, Anthony Wesaka & Naume Biira