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COVID-19: Lira Treatment Center Lacks N95 Masks

Judith Namirimu Polah Nanyonjo, a Senior Principal Nursing Officer (SPNO) at Lira Regional Referral Hospital explained that the lack of PPEs is a major challenge.

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The COVID-19 Treatment Unit-CTU at Lira Regional Referral Hospital has run out of the N95 mask, which is part of the essential Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) in the fight against coronavirus disease.  

The facility is relying on donations from nearby hospitals. Early this week, the center received 90 pieces of N95 (the blue one) from Apac General Hospital. The absence of N95 masks has triggered fear among front line health workers at the facility.   

This comes at a time the district is battling a surge in COVID-19 cases amidst space challenges. Judith Namirimu Polah Nanyonjo, a Senior Principal Nursing Officer (SPNO) at Lira Regional Referral Hospital explained that the lack of PPEs is a major challenge. 

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She says due to the absence of the N95 masks, they are improvising, which isn’t very helpful. “When it comes to changing oxygen for those in the critical zone, the person has to don more than four times. Even when giving treatment people have to don, any slight change in the condition people have to don to enter so we need the supply of N95, the original (the green one) if we can have like 100 or 200 pieces it will serve the purpose.”

A box containing 20 pieces of N95 costs Shillings 150,000/= at Felister pharmacy in Lira City. Namirimu also cited inadequate funding and lack of fuel for vehicles used in the evacuation of patients as hindrances to their work.

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Lawrence Egole, the head of the COVID- 19 Task-force in Lira City called for urgent intervention, saying health workers at risk of infection cannot save lives.

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Meanwhile, the Task Force has resolved to conduct door to door testing of the people in and around Lira City. The resolution followed the realization that having a central testing point at the district health department was not only exposing staff to the virus but also a source of infection among those showing up for testing.

Bernard Otucu, the Lira City Principal Health Officer, says that taking samples from the District Health offices exposes the staff to infection and interrupt their work.

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A total of 853 people have been admitted at the treatment center, 26 have since passed on while 711 were discharged. As of 29th June 2021, there were 17 patients in the ward. 8 males and 7 females. 7 people are critically ill on oxygen whereas there are 77 active patients on home-based care.

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