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Lower Health Facilities to Offer COVID-19 Testing, Management

Dr Atek Kagirita, an Epidemiologist and a Technical Consultant at the COVID-19 surveillance task force says that the need for a home-based care model for COVID-19 patients has necessitated rolling out testing services and to improve accessibility and public uptake.
COVID-19 Burial Team

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Health Centre III's across the country will now be able to test and manage COVID-19 cases, as the health Ministry moves to ease care for those battling the deadly respiratory disease.

Dr Atek Kagirita, an Epidemiologist and a Technical Consultant at the COVID-19 surveillance taskforce says  that the need for a home-based care model for COVID-19 patients has necessitated rolling out testing services and to improve accessibility and public uptake.

The Ministry of Health revisited the approach of treatment after the surge in COVID-19 cases and allowed those with mild symptoms of the virus to be isolated and monitored from their homes. Hospital admissions were then preserved for moderate and severe cases and those with underlying health conditions.

Dr Kagirita says that in anticipation of a sharp increase in the number of infections due to the continued ease of the lockdown restrictions and the systematic opening of education institutions, the Ministry of Health has found it worthwhile to improve accessibility to testing services for purposes of ensuring that all cases are detected and attended to in time.

He explains that the ministry has considered equipping a critical mass of staff at health centre III with skills and Rapid Diagnostic Testing-RDT kits, to enable them to perform COVID-19 testing and promptly generate results from their local treatment stations.

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He says that the National COVID-19 taskforce is also engaging religious leaders, teachers, local council leaders and health workers in both private and government health centres to sensitize communities on the home-based care approach for cases, as the country continues to wait for the vaccine.  

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Bernard Lubwama, an Epidemiologist and head of COVID-19 surveillance at the Ministry of Health indicated that they are also focusing on the need for appropriate nutrition towards ensuring that people build the required body defences against the virus and other associated opportunistic infections.

He adds that the National task force alongside the Ministry of Health education team are developing a guiding handbook for the Village Health Teams-VHTs who are going to be directly involved in community supervision of the Home-based care method of COVID-19 management.

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Uganda has since the confirmed outbreak of the novel Coronavirus registered a total of 39,789 cases and 327 deaths, according to figures at the Ministry of Health.  

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