Kampala. President Museveni has formed an urgent covid19 taskforce to advise him on the next course of action amid heightening daily cases and deaths.
The taskforce is majorly comprised of Permanent secretaries and other senior technical staff, the fact that new ministers have not yet been appointed. They are meeting today and the conference hall at the President’s office in Kampala. Knowledgeable sources said the committee is believed to among others draw plans for a new stringent lockdown.
“The President has directed that pending a new cabinet, a temporary national task force be constituted comprising permanent secretaries to handle the current resurgence,” a letter sent to stakeholders by Permanent Secretary ministry of Health Dr. Diana Atwiine and dated May 26 reads .
The latest development come at a time when many Hospital ICUs are full and Ugandans adamant to get vaccinated.
On Monday, the Ministry of Health asked health workers to take extra precaution to avoid getting infected with COVID-19, as nineteen of their colleagues had already contracted the disease. Last year, over 2,000 health workers were infected with the disease and 21 succumbed to it.
Dr. Henry Mwebesa, the Director-General of Health Services at the Ministry of Health told an expert meeting on Monday that due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, health workers need to take extra precaution.
“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 centres but in other hospital units.
Dr George Upenthyo, the commissioner in charge of community health at the Ministry of Health says cross infections in hospitals are common but can be avoided.
“It is easy to protect against infections in the hospital. If health workers use masks and gloves and also, frequently wash their hands, these infections can be controlled and avoided altogether,” he said.
Last year, most health worker infections were attributed to lack of Personal Protection Equipment-PPEs at many health centres. Dr Mukuzi Muhereza, the secretary-general of the Uganda Medical Association-UMA says 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 says 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.
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