Kampala, Uganda – The Ministry of Health has advised health facilities to treat all patients admitted with acute respiratory tract symptoms or illnesses such as pneumonia with high suspicion for COVID-19.
The advice was given by the health minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng during a national address on the status of COVID-19. It comes at a backdrop of reports that the two people who have succumbed to COVID-19 in Uganda were presented at various hospitals with breathing difficulties.
One of the deaths was registered in Namisindwa district in eastern Uganda while the other was at Mengo Hospital, in the outskirts of Kampala. Dr Aceng said that private health facilities need to treat the cases with caution in order to reduce avoidable deaths.
According to the minister, if the deceased persons had been treated as COVID-19 suspects, their deaths would also have been avoided adding that the failure to identify symptomatic patients is a danger to health care workers, their families and the patients. She says that early detection of cases could save lives.
Dr William Worodria, the head of COVID-19 cases management says that all persons with fevers and breathing problems should be treated as possible COVID-19 cases. Although the prevalence of pneumonia in the country is unknown, the disease is common among both children and old people.
“Health workers need to treat everyone that presents with a high temperature and difficulty in breathing as a suspected COVID-19 case,” he said.
Dr David Musoke, an infection specialist and member of the COVID-19 ministerial science committee says that the health ministry is planning to re-sensitize health workers on how they can handle suspected COVID-19 cases. The health ministry will also disseminate COVID-19 case definition and management information to all health workers.