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Medics warn public against stigmatizing COVID-19 returnees from treatment centres

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda Medical Association urges the community not to stigmatize COVID-19 patients who will be discharged from the treatment centres.

Dr Richard Idro, the President of the association says that they are worried communities may fail to welcome the returnees after completing their 14 days hospitalization and the confirmatory tests that follow.

“We fear the stigma of those soon to be discharged will suffer. We appeal to the public not to stigmatize or shun them but welcome them home. Please make them feel welcome”, he said.

According to the Ministry of Health, the country’s first case is stable but undergoing final tests and that starting either this week or early next week hospitals may begin to discharge those that tests indicate have completely recovered.

Hospitals that are currently treating the 52 positive patients include Mulago Specialized National Referral Hospital where Uganda’s youngest case of the 8 months baby from Iganga is being followed up and is said to be stable.

Others include Entebbe Grade B, Masaka, Hoima and Adjumani hospitals.

Standard COVID-19 treatment procedures according to Idro stipulate that people who test positive for COVID-19 are first hospitalized for 14 days. After the symptoms have resolved, at least two tests are taken 48 hours apart and if these tests are negative, the patient is considered cured and can be discharged back into the community.

Dr Misaki Wayengera, a virologist and member of the COVID -19 National Task Force says that there is a criterion they have set up to release patients requiring them to be in quarantine again because studies indicate such patients even when cured continue to shed the virus for up to three weeks.

The discharged patients he said will first be kept at a hotel they are yet to identify.

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