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Health Ministry losing track of Covid-19 patients under home care treatment

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Health is struggling to track recovered COVID-19 patients under the home-care treatment program.

While the health ministry has records of COVID-19 patients admitted within the public and private healthcare system, it has very little or no information on the patients seeking treatment from their homes.

Dr Henry Mwebesa, the Director-General of Health Services at the health ministry while addressing a virtual meeting on Tuesday admitted that they are facing challenges to trace the patients.

“We are losing track of people who test positive but remain home and undergo treatment. We know how many people are tested and those who are in hospitals and also those who die but we do not know those who are home or where they live,” he said.

According to Mwebesa, the only information they have on the patients is where they were tested from, their contact information and names.

Home care was introduced in September by the health ministry following the congestion of treatment facilities due to increases in community cases.

With only 4,000 prepared beds at treatment facilities and over 9,490 active patients, the move was welcomed.

Under home care, people who test positive for the disease but are asymptomatic or do not have any other underlying conditions such as diabetes, asthma or even high blood pressure stay home in isolation for at least 14 days or until they test negative for the disease. This way, treatment facilities are left for a moderate and severe cases of the disease that requires hospitalization.

Ideally during home care, the health ministry is supposed to follow up with phone calls to monitor the progress of the sick. However, many patients who have undergone home care say no one from the health ministry has contacted them.

Mary Atim, a hospital cleaner who tested positive but opted for home care says that no one from the Ministry called her. Only staff from the hospital she worked at checked in on her to monitor her condition.

“No one called me. I tested positive in October but I got no phone call. Only my employees in Ntinda called to check to see if I was fine,” she said.

Dr Charles Olaro, the Director of Curative Services at the ministry of health says that it is hard to get in touch with people because at times the contact information provided by patients is not correct.

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