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Namisindwa death opens COVID-19 reality for Uganda -Health experts

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Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  Ugandans have been advised to use the country’s first COVID-19 death as an eye-opener that the disease is real and lethal. The call was made moments after the Ministry of Health confirmed the first death due to coronavirus disease in the country. 

The deceased was a 34-year-old woman from Namisindwa district. She succumbed to the disease on Wednesday at Joy Hospice Centre in Mbale district, where she was admitted a day earlier after presenting with COVID-19 symptoms.  

According to the health ministry, it took the deceased five days to succumb to the disease from when she first developed symptoms of a headache, dry cough, fever and difficulty in breathing. Richard Kabanda, the assistant commissioner for health services says that the country’s first case is an eye-opener that anyone can succumb to the disease within a short time period.

The warnings come at a time when Ugandans are rubbishing the existence of the disease in the country, despite more than 320 deaths report across the East African Region. Many had abandoned public health preventive measures like wearing facemasks or even washing hands.

Dr Monica Musenero, an epidemiologist and senior presidential advisor says that the country’s first death might be a precursor to other deaths.  

“This might the beginning of more deaths. We now need to go back to the drawing board and concentrate more on testing in communities because this shows that the disease has spread more widely than suspected. We have been concentrating on truck drivers, now we need to change,” she says. 

But Dr Yonas Woldermariam, the WHO country representative says that further cases of death can be avoided if communities follow all preventive public health measures.

“The most important aspect is for the community to follow public health preventive measures; wearing masks, physical distancing, hand washing and all other measures coming from the government and the scientists. We have to follow them if we do not want the number of deaths to rise,” he said.  

As of today, the total number of confirmed cases stands at 1,048.

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