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Mulago Developing Guidelines for Transferring COVID-19 Patients to ICU

Dr Elizabeth Namukwaya, a palliative care physician at the hospital currently based at the Isolation centre said they have finished initial drafts and hope to have a complete document by the end of this week.

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Guidelines are being developed at the Coronavirus Disease (COVID -19) isolation and treatment centre in Mulago to help health workers a make quick decisions on what kind of patient benefits from ICU services first, in case they are faced with multiple cases with serious symptoms.

Dr Elizabeth Namukwaya, a palliative care physician at the hospital currently based at the Isolation centre said they have finished initial drafts and hope to have a complete document by the end of this week.

She said these guidelines are necessary considering the fact that there are not enough facilities to offer intensive care services with only 55 ventilators for the whole country. 

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She said that while they haven’t received anybody among the 44 who have tested positive for COVID-19, so far, getting acute symptoms that require a high dependency on life support, such cases might present themselves in future and find medical teams ill-prepared for big numbers.

She said that they are also including a guideline on what sort of psychosocial support health workers can give to people affected by the disease for both those in the mild and moderate category.     

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Her colleague, Dr Mhoira Leng said that to develop these guidelines they are comparing notes with what has already been developed elsewhere especially in India and Europe. 

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She, however, notes that for these guidelines to be implemented in the hospital, they will first have to get approvals from the Ministry of Health which to her is currently pre-occupied with ensuring that all people in isolation and those that have developed symptoms are tested, and those that test positive are admitted for supportive care.

Responding to this Dr Miriam Ajambo, an official at the Ministry of Health said that even without the guidelines in place, they have resorted to virtual training for health workers at hospitals in the districts.      

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