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District COVID-19 quarantine centers to be closed over poor management

FILE PHOTO: Ministry of Health plans to move patients scattered in district COVID-19 quarantine centers to regional sites which can easily be supervised.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Health is planning to move people quarantined in district COVID-19 centers to regional sites with piling complaints of poor management.

Dr. Richard Mugahi, the head of COVID-19 quarantine and assistant commissioner of health services at the Ministry told Uganda Radio Network-URN about this development.

Recently, the media has been awash with stories of crowding in quarantine centers and others escaping from these sites something that has created fears of further transmission of the viral respiratory disease. Uganda has so far had 911 people test positive for the virus. In some facilities, people have staged strikes over filth and poor feeding.

This Dr. Mugahi says has made them rethink their approach of having many centers scattered across districts to regional centers that they can easily supervise since the need for public centers is on an increase especially now with increase in community infections in addition to those that had been stranded in other countries and are now returning home.

Of the Ugandans who returned after being stranded abroad, Dr. Mugahi said no one has gone into the public centers yet although the Ministry notes 230 people had booked to utilize them.

Some of these will occupy the public quarantine centers, Mugahi says and promises a good service although he notes that while the returnees in these facilities will have appropriate distancing as they will be sleeping in individual rooms, they will have to share ablution areas which is against the World Health Organisation guidelines for quarantining.

Commenting on public quarantine centers, Dr. Spire Ssentongo who was among the first people to undergo quarantine in the country said there’s a risk of cross infection in public quarantine sites with recent revelations of deplorable conditions there, he said yet there’s slim public trust in the hotels that the Ministry of Health has accredited.

He claims people are profiteering from quarantine.

But, Dr. Mugahi says they chose quarantine hotels from those that were submitted by the Uganda Hotels Association and they had to score them basing on among others if they had CCTV cameras to allow ministry teams to visit them every week to assess respect for guidelines by residents.

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