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Kalangala community rejects recovered COVID-19 patient

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Kalangala district leaders say some community members have refused to receive a discharged patient, Charles Lwanga Banya who recently recovered from coronavirus disease-COVID-19.

Banya, a civil engineer who owns a palm oil farm in Kalangala was admitted at Entebbe Hospital after testing positive to COVID-19 last month. He had just returned from a business trip Canada through Washington DC and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, shortly before the closure of airports.

But after healing from the disease and testing negative twice, Banya was discharged from Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital on Tuesday and transported to his residence in Senero village, in Kalangala. The area has 200 households with a total of 700 people.

However, Kalangala district chairperson Willy Lugoloobi says that about 400 members of the community want him to stay away from the village for another 21 days to ascertain that he has recovered from COVID-19. Lugoloobi faults the health ministry for not preparing the community to receive the recovered patient.

According to Lugoloobi, this would not have happened had the ministry commenced the community reintegration process when Banya was still at the hospital.

“As head of Kalangala COVID-19 Taskforce, I am not happy about the messy reintegration process. But as local leaders, we decided that Banya is taken to his residence safely. It’s what we did.” However, Lugoloobi says he is trying to persuade Banya to leave the village for now.

He, however, says it is not good for community members to reject recovered patients because the government has not set up a COVID-19 village to resettle people like Banya.

However, Kalangala Resident District Commissioner Daniel Kikoola says that although the reintegration process was not well managed, Banya should stay in the village as health officials engage the community.

” If Banya leaves now, then he is brought back later we might have the same problem. So let’s just monitor him and ensure he observes the 14-day quarantine guidelines.”

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