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Gulu referral hospital wants treatment centers decentralized

Gulu Referral Hospital

Gulu, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | Authorities at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital want the treatment of COVID-19 patients decentralized in the various districts of Acholi Sub region citing space constraints.

Currently, the facility is overwhelmed with over 130 positive cases. Last week, it rejected 24 patients from Kitgum over lack of space.

Dr Paska Apio, who is in charge of the treatment center at Gulu regional referral hospital, says they have been forced to borrow beddings from Anaka hospital in Nwoya and Amuru district to accommodate more people. She says last week, they borrowed 18 mattresses and bed covers from Anaka hospital and Amuru district health department respectively.

According to Dr Apio, decentralization of treatment centers would ease the workload on the health workers at the treatment center as well as other expenses that are coming along with keeping the patients at the regional treatment center.

Dr James Elima, the director Gulu regional referral hospital, says they have through the Resident District Commissioner Gulu written to the Ministry of Education to allow them use Sir Samuel Baker school and Unyama NTC as satellite treatment centers. He notes that they have also written to the ministry of health seeking permission for the decentralization of the treatment facilities in that only the critically ill patients are referred to the hospital for better management.

But Dr Patrick Odong Olwedo, the Amuru District Health Officer says for the treatment of the contagion to be decentralized, the government will not only have to finance the district but also upgrade the health facilities to one that can handle such conditions.

According to Dr Olwedo, at the moment Amuru district can`t handle its cases due to lack of logistical, financial and personnel resources.

Patrick Okello Oryema, the LCV chairperson Nwoya district says Nwoya district is already treating their cases at Anaka hospital. He however says there`s need for the government to support all the districts if they are to manage their own cases.

Dickson Ojok, the LCV caretaker Pader district says decentralizing treatment of COVID-19 will increase the risks of further spreading the contagion.

According to Ojok, for example, Pader district is struggling to pick up and treat already confirmed community cases in the district.

Northern Ugandan districts have registered over 500 cases of COVID-19 cases in recent times.

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