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Ebola outbreak: Medical interns threaten to flee Mubende hospital

Mubende hospital

Mudende, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Health has responded to concerns by medical interns who have been pushing to be transferred from Mubende Regional Referral Hospital following the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Mubende district.

Dr. Henry Mwebesa, the Director General of Health Services at the Ministry of Health said in an interview on Thursday that while they have received complaints about fears of infection, they are not considering withdrawing or transferring anybody from the hospital.

Mwebesa says the outbreak that had by Thursday claimed six lives and affected thirty-one other individuals including six health workers presents an opportunity for the trainee doctors to learn how to handle such crises when they finally start practicing as medical officers.

But intern doctors say while they are being told to stay in hospitals, some of their supervisors are no longer reporting to work living them to work unsupervised, even in these very infectious circumstances.

Dr. Musa Lumumba, the President of the Federation of Uganda Medical Interns (FUMI) says that he had earlier written to Mwebesa and spelled out their fears.

One of their concerns was that they were not given appropriate personal protective equipment-PPE, and some thirty four interns out of fear chose to stay home.

However, Mwebesa says the claim that there’s no PPE is unfounded since other health workers are still in hospital and offering other services other than Ebola care.

In an interview with URN, Dr. Herbert Luswata, the General Secretary of the Uganda Medical Association (UMA) said some interns have already been infected and the best thing now is to have these redistributed to other internship sites like the case when COVID-19 hit. For him, the environment in which these learners are being trained matters a lot if they are to grasp what they are being taught.

He says they have received information from colleagues in Mubende that even the qualified medical doctors have already fled the hospital.

Meanwhile, Mwebesa reveals that one of the six infected health workers that have been transferred to Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital is in critical condition.

He says the doctors that got infected had conducted a surgical operation on an Ebola-infected patient unknowingly. This happened before the confirmation of the first case on 20th September.

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One comment

  1. The PPE for suspect or ebola cases is meant to protect health workers from all the possible transmission.. there is intense training in relation to its use

    It cannot be the same PPE for routine care

    We pray that the affected health care workers recover well

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