By PATRICK JARAMOGI
KAMPALA, Uganda |SHIFTMEDIA| The country seems on FIRE! Covid-19 is taking a heavy toll across the country with over 80% (70 districts) already bombarded with the disease.
According to the Ministry of Health, Government is losing the grip on containing the pandemic. As per November 27 2020, the nation had recorded 19,115 cases of Covid-19 patients with over 8,000 recoveries and 191 deaths.
Government has now made it clear that the responsibility is now on individual Ugandans to take care of themselves.
“We did our part, we sensitized the masses, urged them to wear face masks, hand wash and social distance, but Ugandans are very hard people to handle,” said Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health.
Aceng said with the onset of campaigns, fatalities are going to be high.
Reports from the Ministry of Health show that most health facilities are already filled up with hundreds of Covid-19 patients. The Specialised Women’s Hospital in Mulago that was turned into a Covid-19 ward is filled to capacity with hundreds in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit).
A visit to the facility unearthed that most Covid-19 cases are now not allowed anymore in the wards, they are referred to seek treatment while at home under the Home Care system.
Similarly, Kiruddu, Kawempe, Naguru Hospital, Kiswa Health Center, Kisenyi and Kisugu Health Centers are already overwhelmed.
This also has its disadvantages since the health officials can’t track any more patients to ascertain whether they have recovered or not.
“To be frank we (Ministry of Health) have lost track on the contacts, the contact tracing has become so difficult due to overwhelming numbers,” said Dr Diana Atwine the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health.
Our findings from the communities that we visited showed that people are dying with no effort by the government to trace the contacts yet alone record the deaths. Few senior citizens such as the late Shaban Bantariza(Deputy ED Media Center), Brig. Gen Mulindwa, Pastor Luwandagga, among others have been highlighted because of their profile and status.
“What is captured as deaths or recoveries are official numbers of those (patients) admitted in government health facilities. Many who are sent home after testing positive end up dying unobtrusively at home,” said Henry Mwebe who lost two relatives due to Covid-19.
Students test positive
The situation has been made worse with reports of students testing positive to Covid-19. The government opened the schools to final students on October 15 2020, but so far 120 students have tested positive. These according to Hon Moriku Kaducu, the State Minister for Health are 32 students from Bishop Cipriano Kihangire SSS in Luzira, Kampala, 30 cases from Kabale School of Nursing and Midwifery, 32 cases from Masaka College of Health Services and 28 from Vine Paramedical School in Masaka.
These are the numbers that have been captured by government though health experts say the number may be much higher.
Kaducu said: “The country is losing battle against Covid-19 as hospitals and other health units continue to get overwhelmed with many admissions.”
Ministers not spared
Due to fear of spreading the diseases in State House, President Museveni ordered that all cabinet ministers test for Covid-19 before attending Cabinet meetings. So every Wednesday’s all ministers have to undergo mandatory Covid-19 tests. As we publish this, (Friday, 27 2020) at least 50 ministers have tested positive for Covid-19 and majority are under self-isolation and receiving treatment.
With the campaigns on high gear now, the infections are expected to shoot higher towards polling day and during the festive season. Uganda may need to borrow a leaf from neighboring Rwanda that has managed to contain the numbers to just 5,750. Of these 5240 have recovered with just 48 deaths.
The US that just came out of elections is now recording over 170k cases daily, with over 13 million Americans infected and close to 300,000 deaths. America tops the charts followed by India (9.3m), Brazil (6.2m) and Russia (2.2m).
What Ugandans need to do
As we head for the festive seasons, expect worse surge slightly after Christmas. The opening of the worship centers has worsened the situation. Some churches we visited in Kampala have already surpassed the 200 number adjusted by the government from the initial 70. Most churches, that we won’t mention here have between 3- 4 services, with very minimal, or no Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Chairs are not fumigated after each service, some churches we found didn’t observe social distancing, and as the faithful, sang their hearts out, many had no masks. To them, “God will protect us”.
Latest Scientific findings
But latest findings backed by scientific evidence released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) indicated that there is a very HIGH risk of infection of Covid-19 from gatherings in enclosed places like religious places, offices, cinemas, gyms or theatres.
These findings that have been emerging for a while need to be applied by people to manage the situation in the best possible manner.
According to the findings, to successfully infect a person, the virus needs a dose of 1000 viral particles (vp). A breath has 20 vp/ minute, speaking has 200vp/minute, cough has 200 million vp, and scientists say enough of these may remain in the air for hours in a poorly ventilated environment, and this is where the wearing of a face mask is paramount.
Similarly, a sneeze also contains 200 million vp, while there is low risk in being in a vicinity with a social distance of 6 feet if you don’t exceed 45 minutes talking to a person. Scientists say if you talk to someone wearing a face mask for less than 4 mins, you don’t stand a chance of infection.
Shoppers in a market or Super Market, according to scientist have a medium risk of infection that can be lowered if they limit time and follow hygiene.
Restaurants are at very high-risk infection though this can be reduced to medium if revellers avoid surface touch. The same to offices and schools even if they social distance the infections remain high. Scientists also say weddings, social gatherings, business networking and conferences are very high-risk areas of infection.
CDC advises that it’s upon the individual to calculate between indoors and outdoors, narrow spaces and large ventilated spaces, highly people density versus low people density and longer exposure versus brief exposure.
The only way now to remain safe is to boost your immunity, since a herd immunity can according to scientists help contain on the fatalities.
When at home you need to quickly boost your immunity to prepare for a possible Covid-19 fight. Neem can also help boost your immunity, or recover fast if you get infected, though no scientific research indicates it cures Covid-19.
Proceed to prepare an effective immunity booster as follows: Blend the following in a blender for 5 mins
- One liter of hot water
- Garlic 10-15 piecesLemon (2)
- One big fleshy onion
- Ginger (thumb size) 4
- Red pepper 5
Let it cool down, then take 2 tablespoons 8 hourly.
Similarly, as you wear your masks, hand wash, sanitize, social distance, you can also take the following preventive medication.
- Hydroxychloroquine tabs (400mg once a week)
- Vitamin C (one gram once a day)
- Zinc tab (50mg once a day)
- In case of fever (Crocin Tab 650 mg
- In case of throat pain (cetirizine 10 mg once a day or syrup Alex 2/3 tea spoon 3 times a day