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Private Healthcare Providers Demand Training on Basic COVID-19 Care

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Grace Kiwanuka, the Executive Director Uganda Healthcare Federation UHF, an entity that brings together private healthcare providers told Uganda Radio Network that after Uganda confirmed an outbreak on Saturday many of their members expressed concern that patients approach them with symptoms and they are challenged how to handle them because they haven’t been sensitised.
Grace Kiwanuka Ssali, Executive Director Uganda HealthCare Federation

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As Uganda moves to community transmission of the corona virus alias COVID -19 having started confirming positive cases of people who haven’t travelled abroad, private healthcare providers are asking government to offer them basic training or issue them guidelines on how to coordinate within facilities when faced with symptomatic patients before they hand them over to the Ministry of Health.

Grace Kiwanuka, the Executive Director Uganda Healthcare Federation UHF, an entity that brings together private healthcare providers told Uganda Radio Network that after Uganda confirmed an outbreak on Saturday many of their members expressed concern that patients approach them with symptoms and they are challenged how to handle them because they haven’t been sensitised.

 

When patients visit private facilities and they are advised to contact the selected COVID 19 centers, but some of them are reluctant to do so. “There is a degree of resistance from patients to be handed over because they fear their personal information will be leaked if they are known to be suspects. This carries over to their families, that because the condition is so contagious, their families will face challenges in the community if they are diagnosed. So there is a lot we all need to do to sensitize and manage confidentiality more professionally”, she said.  

As she said this, there were rumors circulating on social media that four foreign nationals had run to International Hospital Kampala (IHK) to have tests run when they presented with symptoms. However, IHK dispelled the rumors as false when approached by our reporter but acknowledged that some people go there with common flu and cough, adding that once they realise it’s not the kind that they usually treat or related to any other illness, they are directed to handover any suspected cases to the ministry.

To be able to guide hospitals like IHK and other member hospitals, the federation is circulating an online link for health workers to get some basic understanding about the disease. “We managed to get training material from the Kenya Medical Association. It is material that is approved by the Kenya Ministry of Health and for now that is what we have agreed with KMA that we can use that as we wait for the Uganda material to be ready”, Kiwanuka told Uganda Radio Network.

Even as they need basic training, Dr. Peter Kawanguzi, the Executive Director Bugolobi Medical Center, said they don’t want to be trained to do tests and then declare them independently by themselves as that will lead to confusion and unnecessary hysteria in the country.       

He says the mandate of declaring the results should be left to the Ministry of Health.

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But, some facilities, Kiwanuka said have expressed interest in conducting COVID -19 tests but have not yet heard from the Ministry regarding accreditation. Uganda has so registered 14 confirmed COVID -19 cases.  104 suspects tested on Wednesday all turned out negative, according to the Health Minister, Jane Ruth Aceng.