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Gulu regional hospital yet to install ICU beds

ICU beds supplied by the Ministry of Health.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Ten Intensive Care Unit- ICU beds supplied to Gulu Regional Referral Hospital in September to support the management of covid-19 patients are yet to be installed despite the increasing death toll.

Dr Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health earlier said each of the 16 regional referral hospitals in the country would receive 10 beds to provide care and life support for severely ill patients.

Each of the ICU beds was to be accompanied by a ventilator to aid breathing for patients, oxygen supply systems and other specialized systems. However, three months down the road, the hospital continues to face an uphill task in the management of severe novel COVID-19 cases.

Dr Paska Apiyo, the deputy director of the hospital and in-charge of the COVID-19 treatment unit revealed that the absence of the beds has made it difficult for effective care delivery to critically ill patients at the facility.

The hospital is already implementing home-based care for asymptomatic patients as recommended by the ministry due to resource constraints, but Dr Apiyo disclosed that the facility is receiving and treating critically ill patients.

Gulu District Health Officer Yoweri Idiba explains that the hospital has not installed ICU beds because of lack of space but also some of the beds have been taken and installed in St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor. He disclosed that there is an on-going expansion work at the hospital to create more space.

Up to five patients who include a woman and four male adults have cumulatively succumbed to the virus from the isolation ward. Of those, four died this week while the first death was recorded a week ago.

Overall, Gulu has recorded 13 COVID-19 deaths since September and over 1,200 confirmed cases. Eight of them died from St. May’s Hospital Lacor with latest incident fatalities involving two Comboni Missionaries; Bro Benito Ricci and Fr. Jesus Aranda.

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