Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital has only one patient with the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The hospital says it is currently managing only one patient, a male Ugandan who was admitted over the weekend. The patient was a case picked from the community in Masaka district.
The patient was admitted two days after the hospital discharged the last group of two truck drivers who had recovered from the virus. Entebbe Referral Hospital has so far handled 159 patients since March. For instance, on June 9th, the hospital had 126 patients. It was the biggest number the hospital had from the time there was an outbreak of the pandemic.
As a result, the hospital management stopped admitting more cases due to lack of space in the 200 bed capacity facility and also limited number of workers. The hospital earmarked 130 beds for patients, 18 for suspects and the rest for frontline workers.
52 health workers had been handling the suspects and patients since March when Uganda recorded its first case. Management of the hospital recalled 30 staff to resume work to meet the demand for patient care. Most of those recalled were from the outpatients, child and maternal care departments that were closed in late March to allow the hospital to focus on COVID-19 management.
In the last two weeks however, the hospital has discharged all the 126 patients.
As a result, last Friday the hospital management decided to retain only 25 health workers and 12 support workers including security officers because there were no patients. There were only 8 suspects and therefore the bulk of health workers have since taken a break from work.
Sr. Roslyn Walimbwa, the Principal Nursing Officer and Head of the COVID-19 welfare unit at Entebbe hospital says staff who have taken a break will only return when dozens of patients are admitted at the facility.
This is the first time that a big group (57 in number) of health workers on the COVID-19 management team will take a much deserved break from work at the same time.
Usually, all workers on the COVID-19 management team reside at the hospital for easy mobilization and for safety. Each worker however takes a break every two weeks depending on the work load.
However, some workers will be taking a break for the first time in three months. They include; Enock Shiloba, the Head of hygiene. Shiloba had been on duty since March 21st when Uganda’s first case was admitted at the hospital.
Shiloba says, “It was not easy staying away from home and my family for 3 months and 3 days. I had kept away mostly because of fear that I could infect my family members.”
Meanwhile, the progress at Entebbe Hospital has contributed to the total of 808 recoveries out of 870 cases so far confirmed in Uganda.
However, experts are concerned as Uganda continues to register new cases daily.
The World Health Organisation has also noted an increase in the number of confirmed cases daily across the globe.
In the first month of the outbreak, less than 10,000 cases were reported to WHO. In the last month, almost 4 million cases have been reported. The number of reported cases is now at 10 million.