Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The number of people seeking medical services from Mulago Hospital has drastically reduced during the COVID-19 lockdown. According to Dr Byarugaba Baterana, the executive director of the hospital, many Ugandans developed a phobia for the facility upon learning that it was treating COVID-19 patients.
Baterana says that others thought that by visiting Mulago, they would be forced to test for COVID-19 and subsequently quarantined. But he downplays the fears and advises that the public should instead embrace testing for COVID-19 as a way of controlling its further spread into the communities.
He added that apart from COVID-19, Mulago Hospital is still offering services for all the other ailments. Dr Baterana called out Ugandans to overcome the fear of COVID-19 and the associated stigma.
Meanwhile, Dr Baterana suggests that Ugandans should remain cautious because the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 infections cannot be ruled out especially once the lockdown is totally lifted. He says COVID-19 might remain in the country for a longer period than earlier anticipated.
He added, that in his earlier comments, which were allegedly quoted out of context, he had intended to caution the government against an unplanned lifting of the lockdown which might lead to a surge in COVID-19 infections.
Dr Byarugaba was this week quoted by the media calling for the suspension of COVID-19 restrictions on account that COVID-19 has turned out to like any other flu which should ordinarily be treated at home.
Baterana and his deputy Dr Rosemary Byanyima were addressing journalists at Uganda Media Centre in Kampala alongside other specialists who have been at the forefront of treating Ugandans at Mulago hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Byanyima explained that as the country headed for lockdown, the Ministry of Health issued a directive that outpatient services should be scaled down so that more capacity and attention could be given to COVID-19 cases. However, she added that the directive was rescinded and all outpatient services reopened.