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COVID-19: Experts Bank on Community Vigilance as Cluster, Mass Testing Becomes Impossible :: Uganda Radionetwork
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COVID-19: Experts Bank on Community Vigilance as Cluster, Mass Testing Becomes Impossible

Dr. Misaki Wayengera a virologist and researcher based at Makerere University says that overall across the country, the testing takes place is about 0.3% of the population. He says they are aware that so many people are infecting others in the community but mass testing was untenable. He says they are now banking on communal responsibility which is the reason as to why they are recommending serious enforcement of interventions like curfew.

Audio 4



The people currently being tested for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) are majorly those that present to health facilities with symptoms consistent with the disease.  

Dr. Monica Musenero, the Senior Presidential Advisor on Epidemics told Uganda Radio Network (URN) today that at this stage in especially Kampala which is recording hundreds of cases each day, clustering or tracking contacts is impossible.

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For the last three days, Kampala has recorded the highest number of positive cases followed by Wakiso district. For instance according to latest results released by the Ministry of Health this morning, of the 1083 who tested positive countrywide yesterday, 832 were picked from Kampala and 101 others picked from the neighboring Wakiso district. The previous day out of the 915 that tested positive, 600 came from Kampala.

Dr. Musenero says on a daily basis, an average of a thousand alerts are tested from Kampala where a few are travelers and those opting to attend official functions. She adds that while clustering would be appropriate to find contacts of positive cases, they are not doing it and are instead urging communities to be vigilant on respecting the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

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Dr. Misaki Wayengera, a virologist and researcher based at Makerere University says that overall across the country, the testing takes place is about 0.3% of the population.  He says they are aware that so many people are infecting others in the community but mass testing was untenable. He says they are now banking on communal responsibility which is the reason as to why they are recommending serious enforcement of interventions like curfew.

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He says now hospitals are being urged to test everyone who comes to facilities with suspect symptoms and as a result of this they have seen demand for Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT) going up by especially the private facilities partly because they are cheaper and offer prompt results.

While the gold standard for testing COVID-19 worldwide is a PCR test, Dr. Misaki says an RDT is equally effective although he warns that it can’t be used for the asymptomatic.  An RDT cost ranges between Shs50, 000 and Shs100, 000, while a PCR goes for up to shs300, 000 at some private laboratories.

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Asked about the affordability of requiring those that go to health facilities for a mandatory test as the initial requirement before proceeding for other tests, Dr. Musenero says those that can’t afford should utilize the government free labs.    

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