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Staff Shortage Hits Gulu COVID-19 Treatment Unit

Dr Paska Apiyo disclosed with the spike in new cases, the unit is being operated by only eight personnel; 4 nurses, a medical doctor and a physician including two cleaners saying work volume has over stretched them.
11 Jun 2021 19:10
Gulu Regional Referral Hospital-Photo by Dominic Ochola

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Staff shortage has overstretched care delivery at the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Treatment Unit in Gulu Regional Referral Hospital.

During the first lockdown to contain the virus, up to 38 staff drawn from the different department were trained by the Ministry of Health backed by the World Health Organization – WHO, but they were redeployed after the cases receded.

Dr Paska Apiyo disclosed with the spike in new cases, the unit is being operated by only eight personnel; 4 nurses, a medical doctor and a physician including two cleaners saying work volume has overstretched them.

Dr Apiyo explained that the team is supposed to work in shifts or rotational bases but they forced now to stay more than five hours in the wards, a risky and unhealthy method of work at the facility following the prevailing situation.

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The District Taskforce Chairperson, Stephen Odong Latek says that with the numerous referrals from neighbouring districts the treatment centres requires urgent reinforcement to enhance the quality and consistency of care delivery. The Districts include Omoro, Nwoya, Amuru, Gulu, Pader, Lamwo, Kitgum and Agago.

Latek said they have resolved to write to all respective district Task Force chairpersons in the eight Districts of Acholi to contribute two health staff; a nurse and a doctor who should be deployed to strengthen the treatment centre.

However, Dr Patrick Odong Olwedo, the Amuru District Health Officer observed that understaffing in the health sector is a nationwide problem. He said Amuru is equally affected by staff shortage but fully aware of the extent to which the CTU is struggling with manpower.

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Susan Akany, the Omoro Resident District Commissioner says several confirmed COVID-19 cases from her area have been referred for further treatment at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital.

James Nabinson Kidega, the Resident District Commissioner of Lamwo observes that his counterpart Latek should seek further guidance from the Ministry of Health from where instructions should be issued for easy implementation.

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