Dr. William Worodria, who heads the Case Management Team on the National COVID-19 taskforce admitted at the beginning the people who were testing positive presented mild symptoms which is why things like rehabilitation were missed in the guidelines.
Lack of any Ministry of Health (MOH) post-infection guidelines on
managing people who have been treated for COVID-19 is baffling medical workers.
During a meeting with MOH officials, Dr. Elizabeth Kutamba,
a pediatrician at Mulago hospital raised concerns of being unaware about any
protocols put in place to rehabilitate children who are recovering from the
virus, yet studies elsewhere have confirmed a heavy toll on survivors' organs
like the lungs and the liver.
She said over 90 children have tested positive and have been
enrolled into care but it is not clear what their treatment plan is while in
hospital and the likely areas of follow up when they are finally discharged.
Another expert, a physiotherapist, Dr. Priscilla Kembabazi pointed out
that less attention has been put on another critical area of physical
rehabilitation that these people require.
Responding to these concerns, Dr. William Worodria who heads
the Case Management Team on the National COVID-19 taskforce admitted that at the
beginning the people who were testing positive presented mild symptoms which is why things like rehabilitation were missed in the guidelines.
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Now, as the pandemic progress and more people are presenting
with serious disease, Worodria says they are alerting health workers to start
flagging those that might need long term follow-up.
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On his part, Dr. Charles Olaro, the Director Clinical Services
in the MOH says they have come up with a tracking mechanism which is being
implemented by Makerere University to establish the quality of life of people
who recover from the disease.
So far, of the 5,123 people confirmed to be
positive in Uganda, 2,333 have recovered but according to Olaro, they are not yet
aware of what complications that they may present with in future.
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However, experts are already experimenting with other
exiting mechanisms used in treatment of other disease like HIV and tuberculosis
(TB) to see whether the same mechanism
can be employed in COVID-19.
For instance, in an earlier interview, Dr. Bruce Kirenga who
heads the Makerere University Lung Institute said they have a planned low cost intervention
with predictions of having to handle cases of lung damage in the near future
that may include scarring, fibrosis and inability to do certain activities due
to chest pain.
The intervention, called pulmonary rehabilitation which also
helps people battling Post – TB complications, will involve using patient –tailored
therapies which may include carefully selected exercises, behavioral change
approaches and nutrition.
For now however, Olaro says that they are not yet clear on exact
complications that people will present with.