8 more COVID-19 cases discharged bringing the total number of recoveries in Uganda to 20
On Thursday 17 April 2020, Uganda discharged eight more patients after completing treatment and testing negative for COVID-19 disease bringing the total number of recoveries to 20.
Seven of these were from Mulago National Referral Hospital and one is from Hoima Regional Referral Hospital.
Among those discharged, today is 65 years old Emmanuel Safali who has battled COVID-19 for the last 18 days.
Safali, a resident of Najanankumbi was filled up with excitement after receiving his certificate to confirm he’s free from the virus. He, however, thanked the medical team that has attended to them selflessly while in hospital.
“I want to simply thank the government for what has been done to us here in the hospital. The last time I was in such a facility was in 1969, and that’s way back in Kilembe Mines Hospital when I was still young,” Safali said.
The medical teams from Hoima and Mulago could not hide their excitement upon the milestone, saying it was another great moment to witness the discharge of more other COVID-19 patients from the hospital after a successful recovery.
“In total today we’re discharging eight confirmed cases that were in Mulago and Hoima. Uganda is not a joking country! We know that there are challenges ahead of us because we continue to register more confirmed cases of COVID-19. But with you here, we know we shall also handle that, the confidence we’ve put in our Ugandans, the hope we’ve given Ugandans that even when you go to Mulago you will come back alive,” State Minister of Health for General Duties, Robinah Nabbanja said.
The communities have been warned to desist from stigmatizing patients who have recovered from COVID-19.
Uganda has 55 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 35 active cases after 20 confirmed recoveries.
Relatedly, Truck drivers have been directed not to have any stopovers until they reach their final destination. This follows a truck driver whose blood samples tested positive at the Malaba border and later on he was found in the company of a female friend as he headed to South Sudan.
This follows a confirmed COVID-19 case that was of a truck driver who had been tested from Malaba from Kenya into Uganda going to South Sudan.
As a result, the Minister of Health Dr Jane Ruth Aceng directed all truck drivers to desist from all stopovers before they reach their final destination, to limit infections should their laboratory results turn positive.
“Truck drivers who stop at places, for purposes of buying food should not interact with the people. Food can be given to them in their vehicles, and they get moving. It could be much better if they have to sleep anywhere; they can sleep in their vehicles, or put their mattresses under their vehicles and sleep there,” Aceng said.
The positive truck driver and the female friend he was with was evacuated and returned to his mother country for medical attention. According to Aceng, they would have isolated him here in Uganda but this would add a number to Uganda’s COVID-19 confirmed cases.
Byron Kinene, the Chairperson Regional Lorries and Transporters Association supported Aceng’s directive adding that transporters should install tracking devices in their trucks for easy monitoring.
“This is my appeal to my fellow transporters that let’s install tracking gadgets into our vehicles, so that when we are at home, moreover most of us are at quarantine when we’re at home we need to monitor our drivers, we need to monitor our trucks,” Kinene said.
Aceng who expressed disappointment to the Health teams at Gulu and Lira hospital that closed doors to the truck driver who was found positive for COVID-19. But she blamed the government for not releasing the medical team risk allowances on time.
“I must emphasize that the work they are doing is valuable you cannot attach a cost to it, because they are putting their lives on the frontline to ensure that we remain healthy, we remain alive. And so I want to say a big thank you to all of you out there, all the health workers, the surveillance officers and all those who are giving support services, you are heroes, we are cognizant of the challenges you face, we know that you have families to take care of, your allowances must be paid off on time, we will ensure that your allowances are paid on time moving forward, we are also cognizant you need food,” Aceng said.
Dr Aceng further noted that it’s impossible to completely close borders blocking truck drivers because they are moving essential products and stopping them might affect lives.
“The goods they are transporting are critical for whichever country it’s going to, goods may be crossing through Uganda going to Rwanda, or crossing through Uganda going to South Sudan or coming into Uganda. So, if you stop the tracks, you are affecting lives, many lives. You cannot keep the truck drivers there, they have a time designated for them to travel but also if you keep them there, they will crowd in that place and crowding alone will cause more infections among the people who are there,” Aceng said.
Everyday Uganda receives over 200 truck drivers which pose a risk to COVID-19.