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Regional referral hospitals to open COVID-19 asymptomatic treatment centres

Diana Atwine PS of ministry of health

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  All regional referral hospitals have been asked to open auxiliary treatment centres to handle all COVID-19 asymptomatic patients in the country. Each regional referral hospital will have to create an asymptomatic ward at the hospital facility. 

The wards will be located in tents within a designated area at the hospital. They will handle mild and asymptomatic cases, which constitute 80 per cent of all reported cases.  

The move comes as the number of positive cases reported every day is on the rise. As of Monday, the total of reported cases in the country was 3,776 with an average of 60 cases reported daily in the last two weeks. 44 deaths have been reported so far.  

According to the health ministry, the centres will help reduce the level of congestion at COVID-19 treatment centres. Last week, the health ministry reported that over 400 people diagnosed with COVID-19 were not hospitalized due to challenges in transporting them to hospitals.  

Dr William Worodria, the head of the COVID-19 case management in the country says the facilities are needed because the number of cases is increasing at a fast rate. He says the centers will help in the management of positive cases countrywide.

“Initially the health ministry tried to control the epidemic arising from the border points and target groups but it has eventually grown to what we see now. Earlier on, all cases were handled at the treatment facility but now they are stressed and we need to have other centres that will help us take care of patients,” Dr Worodria said.   

In Kampala, hospitals treating COVID will only handle moderate and severe cases while asymptomatic cases will be sent to the Mandela National Stadium COVID-19 non-traditional isolation facility which was opened on Monday.  The facility can accommodate 1,500 beds.

According to the health ministry, they are working at having a 20,000-bed capacity dedicated to handling COVID-19 cases. As of now, the capacity stands at less than 10,000. Dr Henry Mwebesa says the creation of the centres should not be looked at as the country failing to manage the disease.       

Dr Diana Atwine says the treatment centres are important because they will enable the health system to continue providing much-needed health services.

A survey released by the World Health Organization- WHO last week revealed that due to COVID-19 up to 90 per cent of health services had been disrupted in mainly low and middle-income countries.  The most affected health services were immunization and HIV services according to the survey.

In addition to the treatment centres at hospitals, the health ministry is working at adding auxiliary treatment centres. Last week, the health ministry announced that some of the centres will be located at hotels where positive COVID-19 cases who can afford can be kept and managed by health officials at their own cost.



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