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Private clinic owners warned against hiding coronavirus suspects

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The leadership of Uganda Private Clinics and Drug Shops Association has warned operators of small clinics and drug shops against hiding and directly offering services to suspected COVID-19 patients.

Tension is high in Uganda following the confirmation of 14 COVID-19 cases including an 8-month-old child. Most of the confirmed coronavirus patients had just returned to Uganda from the United Arab Emirates-UAE.

Health Minister, Ruth Jane Aceng, said the victims entered the country through Entebbe International Airport and were not tested. The Ministry has since been calling upon all the people who returned to the country recently to self-quarantine and show up for testing in vain.

The leadership of Uganda Private Clinics and Drug Shops Association suspects that many of the suspects are reluctant to turn up for testing and could have resorted to private practitioners testing and treatment.

Ayubu Ssegunga, the Chairperson Uganda Private Clinics and Drug Shops Association says majority of the private clinic and drug shop operators focus on money at the expense of professionalism.

He says to create a disease free community all medical practitioners regardless of their level should abide by the health Ministry guidelines and preventive measures against COVID19.

Cap. 281 under the statutory instruments of the Public Health Act issued by the Health Ministry on March 24th, 2020 aimed at fighting Covid-19 requires health officers or medical practitioner to refer suspected COVID19 cases to the nearest regional referral hospital.

The rules also require a medical practitioner who becomes aware by post-mortem examination that the deceased succumbed to COVID immediately informs the head of the household, occupier of the premises or any person who has been in attendance of the infectious nature of COVID – 19 and guides them on precautionary measures to avoid contamination.

The Association Secretary, Ismail Kayine notes that they have embarked on sensitising their members through various social media channels to avoid close contact with suspects, congesting resting beds and be inquisitive about people buying medicine curing diseases with COVID-19 like signs and symptoms.

James Nkata, the Mukono Chief Administrative Officer notes that due to limited equipment, they are encouraging both private and public facilities to refer suspected COVID patients to Mukono General Hospital for examination and sample taking.

“The virus does not spare even anyone. My appeal to the drug shops and clinic operators is cooperating with us and the ministry to overcome the pandemic so that we can live to make money,” Nkata advises.

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