By Spy Uganda
Kampala: Amid the second wave of the deadly Covi-19, the Ministry of Health has cautioned health workers to take extra precautions to avoid getting infected with COVID-19 which has been on the rise in recent weeks thus putting the country on tenterhooks.
The warning comes as many health worker infections have been recorded during the second wave with the total number of infections recorded since the second wave began stands at 19 and all the cases were recorded last week alone according to the ministry of health records.
Last year, over 2,000 health workers were infected with the disease and 21 succumbed to the deadly virus which the ministry says affects the health system when they cant save their own.
Yesterday Friday, the national Covid-19 task force has closed Kinyara health center III in Kabango town council, Masindi district after eight health workers tested positive for COVID-19.
Patrick Baguma, the Masindi District Health Officer-DHO said that samples from the health workers were taken on Wednesday and Thursday, and all eight samples turned positive for COVID-19 prompting the district COVID-19 task force to temporarily suspend operations at the health center to avoid further spread of the virus.
According to Baguma, three other members of the community neighbouring the facility tested positive while three other cases were confirmed within Masindi town bringing to 14 the total number of active cases in the district.
Henry Mwebesa, the Director-General of Health Services at the Ministry of Health noted that due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, health workers need to take extra precaution to save other but also save themselves because the country depends on them.
“New COVID-19 cases are increasing day by day, and health workers are severely affected, i strongly urge you to practice infection prevention and control,” Dr Mwebesa said.
According to the health ministry, the majority of the health workers infected with the disease do not work in COVID-19 treatment centers but in other hospital units.
Last year, most health worker infections were attributed to a lack of Personal Protection Equipment-PPEs at many health centers. Dr Mukuzi Muhereza, the secretary-general of the Uganda Medical Association-UMA said this is still an issue experienced in some health facilities.
“Some of the masks are of poor quality and cannot offer adequate protection. Some health workers are forced to attend to patients when they are not wearing masks because the hospitals do not have masks. They are out of stock,” he said.
Dr Frank Asiimwe, the chair of health worker welfare at UMA says everyone especially health workers and hospitals need to start implementing all social distancing measures.
Asiimwe noted that hospitals and health workers had become complacent about the virus and need to start implementing the Standard Operating Procedures- SOPs.
The health ministry has also intensified its campaign to encourage health workers to receive COVID-19 jab. Data from the health ministry shows that over 41,000 health workers have been vaccinated out of the targeted 150,000. Dr Mwebesa says all health workers should go and get vaccinated since it is the only way to ensure that severe forms of the disease do not infect them.