The recommendations are based on evidence from ongoing trials that show the two antibodies reduce the risk of hospitalisation and duration in symptoms if those at the highest risk of acquiring severe disease for instance unvaccinated persons, the old or immunosuppressed patients.
This follows reports that the daily rate for patients that are critically ill and require admission into the intensive care unit ranges between two and five million Shillings which is unaffordable to most Ugandans on a daily basis. Reports also indicate that Ugandans are spending as much as 100 million Shillings to treat COVID-19 from private health facilities,
Dr. Misaki Wayengera, the chairman of the inter-Ministerial COVID-19 Committee, says that they took a decision to discontinue the use of the drug after people showed up in hospital at the brink of developing kidney failure because of its continued use.
Only two drugs have shown efficacy in treating the disease. Studies have shown that Remdesvir reduces the time that severe patients take to recover while Dexamethasone reduces mortality in severe patients. The effect other drugs such as Azithromycin, Tocilizumab are still undergoing trials.
Findings show that patients who received a 50mg of the steroid had a better chance of surviving with minimal or no organ support on a ventilator compared to those not using the drug. Patients who were given the drug when their blood pressure was low had an 80 per cent chance of better outcomes.
Uganda has used the two drugs in combination with azithromycin to manage its COVID-19 patients at Entebbe General Hospital. So far, 53 patients have been treated at Entebbe and they have fully recovered. In addition to hydroxychloroquine, the patients have been given Vitamin C.
A number of hospital administrators who spoke to our reporters on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal from their bosses, said they haven’t received any equipment. The few available beds are in terrible state and unfit for human use. In the Eastern Uganda, only two ICU beds are functional at Jinja Regional Referral hospital.