Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the senior Public Relations Officer at the Ministry of Health has called on Ugandans to stop discriminating against and stigmatizing Covid-19 patients and those who have recovered from the infection.
Ainebyoona, who revealed that he tested positive for Covid-19 a few days ago, made these remarks while sharing his personal experience as a COVID-19 patient on Thursday October 29, via a Facebook live video.
“The disease is here with us and we need to stop stigma against whoever tests positive. The reason why I disclosed this is to encourage people to learn and live with the disease,” he said.
Having spent 8 days so far in the isolation ward at Mulago Specialised National Referral Hospital, he has illuminated the initial signs he got and the necessity of visiting a hospital to rule out or confirm whether one has Covid-19, or any other illness with similar symptoms.
Ainebyoona said that he started feeling unwell after having a series of field exercises in various areas including Masaka, Kanungu among others.
“It was a weekend and I felt some fatigue, headache, but I knew it was lack of sleep or I had journey fatigue given that I was busy since the start of the year. I thought the body was just tired,” he explained.
His first option was getting painkillers at a pharmacy and continued with his normal activities until Wednesday morning, last week, when he woke up feeling so weak.
He decided to go to Mulago to do a general medical check-up as he had suspected some malaria.
“At Mulago, they checked my body temperature which was beyond normal and my blood pressure was slightly raised. The doctor requested for a Rapid Diagnostic Test and a full blood count (CDC) and wrote for me a request for a Covid-19 test because I didn’t have malaria.”
He stayed at the presumptive ward as he waited for his results due to his symptoms. His test results confirmed that he was Covid-19 positive the next day.
Ainebyoona cautioned people to be suspicious of everyone.
“Everyone is a potential candidate of covid-19 given now that we are in the 4th stage. The people you least expect could be with covid-19. My appeal is to treat everyone around you with suspicion,” he said.
He also emphasized that fear and living in denial should be avoided and people should go to the hospital in case they suspect anything as patients who come in late may fail to respond to the treatment.
“Patients who come in late and those living in denial are losing their lives. Also, currently, patients are now coming in with severe symptoms of the disease,” he said.
Ainebyoona also revealed that he is focusing on self care, taking lemon, ginger in tea to boost his immunity coupled with regular exercises and taking his medications as prescribed by health workers.