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Reopening of Masaka mental unit halted over increasing Covid-19 cases

Masaka Regional Referral Hospital

Kyotera, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | The re-opening of the Mental Health Unit to patients at Masaka Regional Referral Hospital has been delayed following the increasing number of covid-19 cases. 

In May, Masaka Regional Referral gazetted the mental ward to serve as the treatment unit.   The more than 200 patients who were seeking treatment in the ward were transferred to Kyabakuza Health Centre III.   

According to Dr Nathan Onyach, the Director Masaka Regional Referral Hospital, they had planned to take back the patients to the ward unit by December hoping the number of COVID-19 cases will have reduced.   However, Onyach says it has become a challenge since the COVID infections keep increasing every week.

He adds that the number of mental patients is also increasing due to COVID –related problems including stress, unemployment and poverty. He explains that there is a need to strengthen mental health unit especially at the time when the COVID-19 has triggered more metal cases.   

Onyach has asked the patients’ caretakers to remain patient until when the situation improves.   

Dr Canaan Kateregga, the in-charge of the Psychiatric Unit, says that the temporary relocation of mental health services to Kyabakuza has greatly affected the mental health patients. He explains that the patients are struggling to access treatment due to the distance among other services.   

Last week 45 students tested positive for COVID-19 while 16 health workers were told to self-isolate after getting exposed.

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