Beating Covid: I infected my children with Covid

Ms Winnie Namugema, a health worker at Kakuuto Helth Centre in Kyotera District.  Photo | Ambrose Musasizi


What you need to know:

  • After about 15 days, we regained momentum, started eating and everything went back to normal. We later tested again but the results were positive. We currently eat a lot of fruits with greens.

In the new series dubbed ‘Beating Covid,’ we trace victims who caught the virus and overcame it. Ambrose Musasizi brings you the story of Ms Winnie Namugema, a health worker in Kyotera District, who contracted the virus while on duty. Her two children later became infected, but they are all on the journey to recovery.  

“My name is Winnie Namugema, and I am a health worker at Kakuuto Health Centre IV in Kyotera District. I tested positive for Covid-19 about a month ago.

At that time, I had developed a headache, had difficulty in breathing and a little fever but I had no intention of testing; I thought I would take the usual medication and get well.

However, when the signs persisted, and knowing that the facility I work in handles many people from different areas, I was forced to test for Covid-19.

As I waited for the results, more symptoms set in. I developed body weakness with joint pains and started fearing that I could have contracted the disease.
I love cooking supper for my children, aged six and three, but that day when I returned home, I requested the maid to prepare only tea.

However, my children refused to take the tea despite the eats I had bought for them.
I tried to persuade them to eat but they insisted that they were not hungry. The maid told me they had last eaten at around 1pm and had spent the rest of the time in bed, yet they liked playing. Little did I know that my children had also contracted the disease.
 
I went to work the following day, but late. It felt as though I had malaria. I had also sweated a lot throughout the night. I told the maid to monitor the children and update me in case they developed strange signs and symptoms.

My results were not yet back but because of the way I was doing, my workmates advised me to rest and self-isolate as I waited for the results.
 Since I was feeling weak, I reported my situation to our immediate supervisor who allowed me to go home and promised to deliver the results to me as soon as they reached the facility from Entebbe.

When I got home, I called my mother, who lives nearby and told her that I was unwell, but did not reveal everything because I didn’t want to scare her as she could easily collapse due to high blood pressure.
I am, however, grateful that she immediately gathered some herbs for me which she sent. She also directed me on how to cook and start steaming myself with them in order to get pain relief.

I also directed my maid how to cook them. As I steamed myself, I also did the same for my children before we slept.
We also took tablets such as Azithromycin, Zinc sulphate and Vitamin C.
When I got the results the next morning, I expected that I would be positive but I feared for my children whom I thought would suffer worse symptoms.

I later took them for testing and they were also positive. Despite the fact that I had attended to Covid-19 patients before, I was gripped with worry and fear when my children tested positive.
Fortunately, the maid tested negative because I had guided her on what to do. She started steaming as well taking the tablets.

I thought we were going to have severe signs and it would be costly. I decided not to give updates to my mother despite her frequent questions on our status.

We continued to take medication on a daily basis as we steamed at least thrice a day. We took warm water, about two litres each and this was mixed with lemon, ginger and other herbs which boosted our immunity.

We would also drink a lot because we could not eat anything since we had lost appetite. We took juice but made sure the water used to make it wasn’t that cold because we had been told it wasn’t safe.

I must have contracted the virus at the health centre because we always interface with many patients.
Both my husband and mother played a big role in helping us fight the virus. My husband got a different room after knowing we had tested positive.

But he always encouraged us and he would help my mother deliver the herbs and fruits.
After about 15 days, we regained momentum, started eating and everything went back to normal. We later tested again but the results were positive. We currently eat a lot of fruits with greens.

Stigma
I felt lonely since I was in self isolation. My workmates always called to check on me but did not come home because they knew my situation. This angered me but I remembered why they couldn’t come and had to calm down.

Advice
I advise people to observe social distance with all the other standard operating procedures as recommended by the Ministry of Health. If one tests positive, they should be calm and avoid being afraid.

The focus should only be on treating the disease. You might be afraid after testing positive but you shouldn’t fear to the extent of failing to treat yourself.
Many Covid-19 patients have died due to fear because they focus on the death rates in the country and fail to look for avenues of treating the disease.

Relatives and friends are also vital in situations where people test positive not only in economic ways but also in comforting them.

Health workers cautioned on prevention

The Ministry of Health early this month urged health workers to wear two masks while at work as a preventive measure against Covid-19. Dr Henry Mwebesa, the director-general for health services, said health workers are more exposed given that the second wave of the virus spreads faster than the previous wave.

“As health workers, you interface with many patients daily and you are at a high risk of contracting Covid-19. The scientific advisory committee has guided that health workers, because of the risk, need to use two masks while in clinic/wards,” Dr Mwebesa said then.

The Ministry of Health has further asked health workers  to adhere to prevention and control measures to avoid contracting Covid-19.During the first wave, health workers faced a shortage of personal protective equipment.  Dr Mukuzi Muhereza, the general secretary of the Uganda Medical Association, said the ministry needs to provide more guidance.

According to Ministry of Health, the commonest symptoms of Covid-19 range from fever, dry cough, tiredness to flu, aches and pains, sore throat, headache, loss of taste or smell, difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath and chest pain.

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