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Coronavirus: Foreigners under strict observation, Isolation centre ill-equipped


Mar 2, 2020

By Diana Kibuuka

After the ministry of health issued a statement revealing that four foreign nationals with symptoms of Coronavirus disease were isolated at Entebbe referral hospital, Dr. Moses Muwanga the Medical superintendent of Entebbe hospital intimated that no single case has so far been confirmed. “There’s been a circulating video on social media insinuating that we have patients of Coronavirus, which is not true,” Muwanga refuted. He added that, there have always been referrals of people with symptoms of the disease, all of whom have tested negative.

A medical personnel screening incoming travelers at Entebbe Airport

“Yes, we usually isolate such people, take their blood samples and after 24hours, the results are ready to confirm whether the isolated person is positive or negative,” explained Muwanga, adding that no single case has ever been confirmed in that regard. On Friday last week, Dr Ruth Jane Aceng the Health Minister said, 695 travelers, Chinese, Ugandans and others have been isolated for follow up. Of these 488 are Chinese nationals, 64 other nationals while 143 are Ugandan citizens. 280 individuals have completed days of self-isolation.

TB Isolation centre has of recent been used as a quaranteen station during disease outbreaks

Isolation centre still wanting

With the raging coronavirus threat, the National isolation center in Entebbe is ill equipped to receive and handle any emergency. The center, which is found on Manyago hill close to Anderita beach on the shoreline of Lake Victoria in Entebbe municipality is supposed to handle all medical emergencies that require isolation. In health care, isolation represents one of several measures that can be taken to implement infection control. In 2015, World Bank 2015 supported the revamping of the National Isolation center in Entebbe to a tune of USD 7.34 million (about UGX 26.8 billion). However, the facility is in a sorry statement and can’t handle any emergency should the need arise. Construction of a new building is still ongoing while the available buildings are not in use. The Private wing of Entebbe Regional Referral hospital is currently being used as an isolation ward where suspected corona cases are being contained. This has affected the services offered to patients in the Private wing of Entebbe regional referral hospital since they have been suspended.

The TB isolation centre which has always been used as a quarantine station during disease outbreaks, is currently under renovation

Entebbe Hospital receives an average of 20 patients in the private ward daily. Emmanuel Ainebyona, the Health Ministry Spokesperson acknowledges the fact that the isolation center is defunct and undergoing repairs and maintenance, saying it will be able to operate within four months. Moses Muwanga, the Medical Superintendent Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital allays the fears of residents on the isolation center in the hospital, saying the medical officers have been trained how to handle any suspected Coronavirus cases. Government has since the outbreak of the Coronavirus in China ordered that all flights with people coming directly from China go through the isolation center for screening before they are allowed into the country. Kazuri ambulance facilities were also put in place to immediately take all passengers from China for testing.



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