In the year 2020, the entire world came to a standstill as the Wuhan virus (corona virus) maneuvered past the Chinese borders and hit almost every country across the globe. Lockdowns were enacted on countries’ borders, airports, businesses, schools and stringent measures engineered to counter the spread the virus.
The story is no different for Uganda as the country went into a near total lockdown in March 2020, every sector of the economy was terribly hit, we can all agree in unison that maybe the Health sector was the most hit.
As our public general referral hospitals were dedicated to treating the deadly corona virus patients, the health centers were overwhelmed by patient numbers and conditions that they couldn’t treat, and being a red-tape chase to get a travel pass that would permit you to move, the risks weighed in on those who needed better health care, many lost their lives.
With the emergence of a new variant of the virus, president Museveni during his address on the 6th of June imposed a partial lockdown that came with a ban on inter-district movements encouraging Ugandans to stay in their districts and Resident District Commissioners ordered to desist from issuing travel passes.
The ban presents trouble for Ugandans living with non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, sickle cell anemia and other conditions that require specialized treatment that can only be found in referral hospitals that are few and scattered across regions of the country.
Many Ugandans rely on the free and subsidized services of the public hospitals and health centers, shunning away from the very expensive public hospitals. But now the closure of major hospitals in the country leaves many vulnerable sick people stranded, without access to proper medicare.
Entebbe Diabetes Association chairperson Sarah Nanyange says her members are in disarray over the closure of inpatient services at Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital that leaves them without access to surgery services and proper medical care.
“Some members had been scheduled for amputations, but now our hands are tied.” Sarah lamented
The association boosts of over 100 members, but many cannot even afford medication and rely on free supplies from Entebbe’s Grade B hospital and are not in position to afford inpatient treatment in private hospitals.
Now many Ugandans across the country have to rely on support of Non Government Organisations (NGO) that provide health care for survival and heroics of individuals such as one Ssentongo who peddled on a bicycle between Entebbe and Sseguku to deliver Anti Retroviral(ARVs) drugs to those living with HIV/AIDS.
Many still share similar concerns amid this fresh lockdown, the idea ignites the trauma suffered when they could hardly have a proper meal in 2020, to the businesses that completely crumbled due to the lockdown that lasted for nearly 8 months.
As the number of new cases and fatalities continue to plunge in the country, many Ugandans have questions that they would like to ask the government on the crackdown on COVID19.