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St. Pauls HCIV in Kasese Struggling Without PPE's

The facility has received five suspected coronavirus cases with four of these sent into self-isolation without any formal examination due to lack of protective gears and transport. One other walk-in case of contact was picked by the district health team and taken to Bwera Hospital for testing.
The isolation unit at the facility remains wanting

Audio 6

St. Paul HCIV in Kasese Municipality is struggling with the absence of protective gears for its medical teams, as the country witnesses and raise in the number of COVID-19 suspects and patients. 

St. Paul HCIV is the oldest and biggest private facility in Kasese Municipality receiving between 70 to 150 patients according to records. The facility founded and owned by South Rwenzori Anglican Diocese started in 1965 as a Leprosarium centre and was later developed into a referral centre for Kasese district. It is supported by a number of partners including the government of Uganda.  

The facility has received five suspected coronavirus cases with four of these sent into self-isolation without any formal examination due to lack of protective gears and transport. One other walk-in case of contact was picked by the district health team and taken to Bwera Hospital for testing. 

But the facility lacks an isolation centre and its workers do not have Personal Protective Equipment. The Hospital Director, Dr Rev peter Muhindo Kibingo says the facility staff are operating with vulnerability without enough PPEs since the outbreak of the virus.  He says the majority of the personnel don't have access to protective gears.   

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With the facility handling both in and out-patients from a huge and diverse population, Dr Kibingo says that the absence of such items during such a time puts their lives as health workers at risk. He says the facility is yet to complete an isolation unit, lacks oxygen concentration, beds, mattress and their concerns about staff welfare during the time.   

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Dr Kibingo adds that they have been relying on donation since the outbreak of the coronavirus to get some of the basic items to use.  The facility has to use the items sparingly according to the director. 

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One of the health workers who prefers not to be mentioned, says that there are lots of gaps that expose their lives to risk. While they are supposed to use more than two pairs of gloves, the nurse told URN that some are forced to dig into their pockets to have extra gloves. 

“You can’t say your safe if you need three or two pairs of gloves but you have only one pair at hand.” The nurse mentioned 

James Mwesigwa from Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau (UPMB), says cognizant of the current challenges, the bureau has donated some PPE’s including thermometer guns, masks and other PPE’s to ensure the safety of health workers. He says UPMB is extended more PPE's to three other medical facilities in the district.  

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Dr Mukuzi Muhereza, the secretary general of Uganda Medical Association says private medical facilities are not yet on board with the rest of other government facilities yet they continue to treat patients from diverse areas. He says COVID-19 has affected everybody including private facilities whose incomes have been hit and thus unable to put in place some essentials like PPE’s. 

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Dr Muhereza says some facilities especially those in risky areas like Kasese District need to be supported by government. 

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