The observation follows a debate among members of the Acholi community, supporting action by their leaders who, on Wednesday night, objected to the admission of a positive COVID-19 case at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital.
The Ministry of Health has
observed a need to train political leaders about COVID-19 in order to avoid life
altering decisions that many of them are making in disregard of the scientific
facts about the disease.
The observation follows a debate
among members of the Acholi community, supporting action by their leaders who,
on Wednesday night, objected to the admission of a positive COVID-19 case at Gulu
Regional Referral Hospital.
The case, a 36-year-old truck
driver was intercepted from Kamdini Trading Centre in Oyam District, about 65 kilometres
south of Gulu Town and a decision was made to isolate him at Gulu Regional
Referral Hospital. However, area leaders stormed the Gulu-Kampala highway to
stop the ambulance from entering Gulu town with the patient.
In an interview with Uganda Radio Network, Odonga Otto said
that his interaction with the hospital revealed that they did not have
protective gear and added that many of the health personnel in a regional referral
Hospitals across the country do not have the capacity to handle COVID-19
But Dr Henry Mwebesa, the director general of health services at the ministry of health says that Gulu is one of the most equipped hospitals because they have experience in dealing with infectious disease like Ebola. He says their experience coupled with the equipment that was sent to the hospital recently, was more than enough for the hospital to handle the case.
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In light of the event, Dr Mwebesa, now says that the incident brought to light, the lack of knowledge on COVID-19 among leaders and the local community. He said that such leaders need to be taught that COVID-19 cannot spread in the absence of physical contact.
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Evidence so far indicates that
the virus is spread from person to person through small respiratory droplets,
which land on surfaces when a person coughs or sneezes. The evidence shows that
the COVID-19 virus can last on surfaces – especially plastic or metal – for up
to 3 days.
Dr Mwebesa says that they have a budget
of over 5 billion that has been earmarked for sensitization about the disease
and such funds will now go towards educating political leaders and the general
Uganda has 55 confirmed cases of
COVID-19, majority of whom are being treated at Mulago National Referral
Hospital and Entebbe Regional Hospital.