Therefore, to reduce crowding in these hospitals and the risk of transmitting infections, Uganda Medical Association recommends that non-emergency services such as elective surgeries and procedures in all referral hospitals be suspended with immediate effect. This action will prevent overcrowding, reduce the risk of infection spread and conserve the available resources – both supplies and human – for when they will be needed most.
In a press statement sent to our media house, the medics call for further creation of room in the referral hospitals, allow distancing and further reduce the risk of cross-infection, we also recommend that admitted patients with non-critical illnesses be discharged from hospitals (and allowed to go home to their families).
This should be across the board including patients with mental illness, for example in Butabika, for whom such an intervention may even be more important.
Decongestion in the referral hospitals may, during this crisis, require patient load shifting with time may be escalated to general hospitals, health center III and IV if deemed necessary.
The Ministry of Health has designated Entebbe Grade B hospital and the newly renovated Mulago specialized hospital as the main treatment centers for COVID-19. Starting this week, all the 19 Regional Referral hospitals in the country will also start making preparations to become the regional treatment centers.
More health workers are needed at the new screening, isolation and treatment centers. We recommend that, as a matter of urgency, that the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Public Service consider conducting emergency recruitment of health workers to beef-up these areas.
That a special allowance with risk cover and compensation is allocated to these health workers and resources including ambulances be made available to streamline referrals.
That at the moment, Health workers be deployed conservatively to preserve the energies of some.
That special attention is given to the mandatory provision of protective gear to all involved health workers to eliminate infection risk to an already scares human resource. c. The current toll free lines are congested. We recommend that a dedicated Hotline is created for Health workers to report cases separate from the other hotlines. The public should desist from using this line.
There is a meteoric rise in the price of hand sanitizers and some vendors are said to be selling products of dubious quality. We appeal to retailers not to hoard these products and the public to only buy products in registered places. Ensure that whatever hand sanitizer you buy has at least 60% alcohol and is approved by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS).
We reiterate that there is currently no medicine that can prevent or cure Covid-19. We have received reports of some pharmacies and drug shops promoting chloroquine to prevent Covid-19.
We appeal to the public to stop this forthwith. There is no research that has conclusively demonstrated that chloroquine can prevent Covid-19. There is however preliminary research suggesting that chloroquine in combination with other medicines may be used to improve the outcomes of severe disease. There is no vaccine.
The best practice now is to prevent the disease using the simple measures the President and the Minister of Health have communicated. a. Stay at home. Avoid any unnecessary travel.
Protect yourself by maintaining good personal hygiene. i. Regularly wash your hands with water and soap for at least 20 seconds. If you use a hand sanitizer, it should contain at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid touching your Mouth, Eyes, and Nose (MEN) with your hands. iii. Maintain a distance of up to 4 meters especially from people with a cold or cough who have a fever. iv. If you have fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing, call the toll free numbers 0800203033 or 0800100066.
Remember, the same symptoms may be due to other severe infections. v. If you have similar but milder symptoms with a runny nose but without difficulty in breathing, use the basic hygiene principles and stay home until you are better if possible. These measures are effective in preventing not only coronavirus but many other kinds of infection.