QUICK TALK: Inside MoH Response to Covid Pandemic


Part of the ICU beds and equipment installed at one of the Regional Referral Hospitals

As the country battles the second wave of Covid-19 being fueled by the delta variant, Daily Pepper had a quick talk with the Ministry of Health. The discussion centred on how the ministry has responded with meagre resources available, read on:

ON ICU BEDS

MoH: We have installed ICU beds in Mulago NRH and Regional Referral Hospitals of Lira, Jinja, St. Mary’s Lacor, Mbale, Entebbe, Kawempe, Mbarara, Soroti, Naguru, Kabale, Hoima, Arua, Bombo, Fort Portal, Moroto, Mubende, and Gulu to support critical COVID cases. The beds available however can never be enough if we do not control the infection rate, just like we have seen even in countries with stronger health systems. Therefore we advise you all to follow SOPs because critical care is stretched and it should not be you to be the victim of the scarcity of beds.

ON OXYGEN PLANTS

MoH: All Regional Referral Hospitals have installed oxygen plants (15Nm3/hr) producing about 30 to 48 cylinders of 6800 litres of oxygen per day. However, we are procuring 8 more oxygen plants (200Nm3/hr) to boost the existing capacity for Regional Referral Hospitals. Each cylinder will produce over 500 cylinders per day. Similarly, 2 more (250Nm3/hr) plants are being procured for Mulago and Namboole and additional 10,000 oxygen cylinders for mobile distribution.

King Ceasor Augustus Mulenga getting his jab (FILE PHOTO)

ON VACCINES

MoH: Uganda received the first batch of 964,000 AstraZeneca vaccines in March 2021 and over 800,000 people have since been vaccinated. An additional 175,200 doses arrived in the country in June 2021. The vaccines from this batch have been delivered to all districts. This will be used to ensure that all health workers and those eligible for their second dose receive the vaccine. The current doses of vaccines are not adequate to cover all those that got the first dose but we expect more doses in July. We ask for patience as we try to secure more vaccines.

ON AMBULANCE SERVICES

The Ministry acquired 98 type B and type C road ambulances and 3 boat ambulances distributed under a regionally coordinated ambulance service system to all the 14 regions in the country targeting 1 ambulance per health sub-district. We are expecting 11more boat ambulances to be delivered next month. As more ambulances are procured all health sub-districts in the country will be covered.

ON MASKS

MoH: We procured and distributed a total of 36,702,048 masks to all Ugandans. Of these, 34,109,085 masks were delivered to 135 Districts for distribution to their communities and 2,592,963 for distribution to school finalists.

ON COVID-19 TESTING

MoH: Our testing capacity has significantly increased from 74,000 in previous months to 151,000 PCR tests per month and we project to go up to 320,000 PCR tests by the end of June. We established Genexpert testing at all RRHs to support critical testing. These were enhanced with 16 module genexpert machines and cartridges.

We distributed Antigen RDTS to all the 135 districts, Regional hospitals, National referral hospitals, district hospitals, Health centre IVS and HC IIIs, Uganda Prisons isolation centres and Nontraditional Facilities like Namboole. We are working with districts to set up outreach testing camps in all districts to increase access and reduce the volume of samples referred to the Central Labs.

ON PATIENT BEDS

MoH: We have imported 1840 beds and 4600 are being manufactured locally to bring the total to 6440 patients’ beds.

ON TENTS

MoH: We procured 20 sleeper tents to expand bed capacity for Regional Referral Hospitals for isolation of COVID-19 patients. Of these, 2 tents were delivered at Soroti, Lira, Gulu, Arua, Hoima, Kabale, Mubende and Fort Portal, and 1 to Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital and 3 allocated to the UPDF medical services.

ON ISOLATION CENTRE

MoH: We are also opening the newly constructed Entebbe Isolation Center that has been built for the management of such pandemics. As of 27th June 2021, the cumulative number of positive cases confirmed was at 79,434 cases and the cumulative number of recoveries recorded was 52,382.

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