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EBOLA: Private healthcare clinics can set up isolation centres

Executive Director of Uganda Healthcare Federation (UHF) Grace Kiwanuka.

Kampla, Uganda | FLAVIA NASSAKA  | Private hospitals and clinics in Kampala have been urged to set up isolation units as the Ebola outbreak first announced in September, continues to ravage Uganda. Cumulative cases have now risen to 129 and by Monday, 2183 contacts of these cases were being followed up by the Ministry of Health.

Grace Kiwanuka, the Executive Director Uganda Healthcare Federation says chances are highest that some of the contacts who test positive will initially seek care from private facilities since this outbreak is happening just at the same time when the country is experiencing a surge in malaria cases.

While they are not treating Ebola cases, Kiwanuka says they are asking private hospitals to set up holding spaces for suspicious cases before they are transferred for further investigation in the government facilities.

“We have been showing them how to set up isolation centres. They should not mix patients. We have also started sensitising non-health workers involved,” she said.

For the previous two weeks, she says the federation together with the Ministry of Health and the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) have trained about 1500 private health workers on the basics of Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures among which are urging them to quickly identifying suspicious cases and isolating them.

By Monday, 47 cases were under admission at various treatment facilities across the districts that have had cases, and Kiwanuka says government should work to ensure admissions remain low as it would be very challenging for private providers to take part in treatment should cases raise to crisis levels. She says unlike COVID-19 where they took part, handling an Ebola is very expensive due to the fatality of illness and the requirements for disinfecting.

When we spoke to the Ministry of Health about private hospital involvement, Dr. Henry Mwebesa, the Director General of Health Services said having holding centers for highly suspicious cases is a welcome move noting that they are more worried about small clinics than big private hospitals as far as identifying cases is concerned.

He said though that private providers do not need to have different guidelines from public health facilities and warned them against trying to treat patients with a high index of suspicion.

“If you have any suspicion, isolate that patient. When he is in the holding area, make sure you give him the proper supportive treatment for headache, fever, rehydrate him as you take a sample for testing. Usually results come back within one day. If he is positive, then you send to us, do not pretent that you are going to treat the patient, ” Dr Mwebesa warned.

However, three new people had succumbed to virus by Monday bringing the total number of deaths in this outbreak to thirty seven.

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2 comments

  1. Great effort
    Interested in the management of clinical waste

    This grey area needs to be addressed

    • The management of clinical waste:
      It’s destiny
      It’s destruction

      At times transported
      It’s community based handlers

      (Indeed some times it is handled with domestic waste)

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