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.
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
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
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.