COVID -19 survivors in Gulu are demanding discharge certificates
to enable them to counter segregation by the local communities.
The survivors who underwent home-based care management and later tested
negative for the virus say they continue facing segregation, rejection and
isolation from the communities.
Santos Comboni Okwera, a resident of Kanyagoga ‘A’ Sub –Ward in Bardege –Layibi
Division had seven of his family members under home-based care management after
they tested positive for COVID -19.
Okwera says unlike in the first wave of the pandemic, this time Gulu District
COVID -19 Taskforce is no longer issuing discharge certificates to survivors,
which is fuelling segregation and rejection among them by the local community.
According to Okwera, his family members’ final test results were
sent via mobile phone on 30th June before being told they have fully recovered.
However, members of the community still deny them the chance to buy food from
the nearby markets and shops.
Okwera adds that when they go to fetch water, they are chased away
from the borehole. He appealed to the District COVID -19 Taskforce to start
issuing discharge certificates for survivors who underwent home-based care
management to end the segregation and rejection.
Alex Okoya, another COVID -19 survivor who underwent treatment at
home for 24 days says all his test results were given to him verbally by the
health workers and when he recovered, he was told verbally on phone without any
discharge certificate which used to be issued to those who recovered during the
first wave of the pandemic.
Okoya says is facing rejection from the community since some people think he
has not yet recovered from the virus. He adds that many people don’t want to
associate with him even when he has recovered.
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William Onyai, the Gulu District Health Educator says the district
has currently run out of discharge certificates. He however says that they will
soon begin issuing it out to the survivors. He however warned against the stigmatization
of the COVID -19 survivors.
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The latest report from Gulu District Health Office indicates that a total of
419 COVID -19 patients are undergoing home-based care management while over 200
have recovered upon completing the 14 days of treatment.