As the country continues to fight against the spread of covid-19, health workers have been cautioned to handle patients with utmost care to keep transmissions at bay.
According to Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health, a total of 1,474 cases have been registered in Kampala alone, since August 1 and 193(4%) of these, are health workers who have tested positive for Covid-19.
It should be noted that the first wave of the pandemic was largely driven by truck drivers entering the country through various border points. Data from the Health Ministry indicates that 660 Ugandan truck drivers have so far tested positive for COVID-19.
“The current wave of transmission began at the beginning of August 2020, driven mainly by community transmission. The surge of covid-19 cases since August was largely from Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono,” Dr Aceng said.
Dr Charles Olaro, the Director of Clinical services at Ministry of Health said health workers have been affected during this pandemic through increased work load leading to labour shortages, risk of contracting the virus, psycho-social stress, stigma, fatigue among others.
However, the Ministry is taking steps to mitigate covid-19 infections and transmissions among health workers.
These include; training on case identification at health facility level, guidance on creating holding areas in each health facility, instituting of infection prevention and control committees to monitor safety of the health workers, provision of national guidance on care for suspects and confirmed covid-19 cases among others.
Apart from the fight against the Covid-19 Pandemic, Ministry of Health is taking on malaria control programmes such as the ongoing treated mosquito nets distribution across the country.
Yellow fever vaccination arrangements are also underway in 6 districts in the West Nile region.
“To continue offering essential services during the pandemic, we embarked on the distribution of mosquito nets across the country and indoor residual spraying in some districts. We know that malaria kills more people than Covid-19. We also rolled out Yellow Fever vaccination in 6 districts in West Nile to ensure that immunization continues during the pandemic,” said Dr. Olaro.
He also said that people with underlying medical conditions should take much care as they are at very high risk of contracting the virus.
Ministry of Health officials also revealed that mental health cases have been on the rise due to the effects of the pandemic on individuals.
“Analysis is being done and we shall communicate the findings accordingly. The Ministry has recruited psychosocial experts to engage the communities and health workers,” Dr Olaro said.
Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, the WHO Country representative said, “We need to continue practicing the necessary preventive measures until we come up with a vaccine. Health workers need to have a good strategy; find (the cases), test, isolate and care for the cases.”